Eucharistic Miracles

Eucharistic Miracle of Avignon France

On November 30, 1433, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed for public adoration in a small chapel cared for by a confraternity known as “the Gray Penitents.” Suddenly, Avignon was flooded when the Rodano, the river crossing the city, overflowed. By boat, two members of the confraternity managed to reach the chapel where the Blessed Sacrament had been left for adoration and was now unattended. When they entered the chapel, they saw that the waters were divided to the right and to the left, leaving the altar and the monstrance perfectly dry.

The Eucharistic miracle of Avignon occurred in the Chapel of the Holy Cross, home of the Gray Penitents, whose founding goes back to the time of pious King Louis VIII. This king, in order to celebrate his victory over the Albigensian heretics who denied the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, had organized a solemn act of reparation on September 14, 1226, the liturgical feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

In the official documentation of this event, which is still preserved in the chapel of the Gray Penitents, we read that on November 30, 1433, while the Blessed Sacrament was exposed in the little chapel for public adoration, the city of Avignon was hit by a terrible flood. The Rodano river overflowed after days of heavy rain. In the confusion, Armand and Jehan de Pourzillhac-Fature, the latter being the head of the confraternity at the time, with great effort struggled to reach the chapel by boat in order to save the monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament.

From the gates the two men looked into the chapel toward the altar to see what had happened to the monstrance. They saw that the water, which was almost six feet deep inside the chapel, had parted to the right and to the left of the altar, like two walls, and the altar and the monstrance had remained dry and untouched.

News of the miracle spread rapidly, and all the people, together with the authorities, hastened to the place singing hymns of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. Several hundred persons witnessed the miracle. The Confraternity of the Gray Penitents decided that the anniversary of the miracle would be celebrated each year in the chapel on the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle.

Even today every November 30th the brothers gather at the Chapelle des Penitents Gris to celebrate the memory of the miracle. Before Benediction, the brothers sing a sacred chant taken from the Canticle of Moses, which was composed after the parting of the Red Sea. “I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant…At a breath of your anger the waters piled up, the flowing waters stood like a mound, the flood waters congealed in the midst of the sea… In your mercy you led the people you redeemed; in your strength you guided them to your holy dwelling” (Exodus 15:1-18).

This scene is very interesting as it recalls the Lord’s power coming from the bible. The crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:19-22), the crossing of the Jordan River (Joshua 3:14-17), and the anointing of Elisha by Elijah (2 Kings 2:7-8, 13-14) shows that God has shown this sign before.

December Feast Days

St.Nicholas of Myra

Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra, is undoubtedly one of the most popular saints honored in the Western world. In the United States, his memory has survived in the unique personality of Saint Claus — the jolly, rotund, white-bearded gentleman who captivates children with promises of gifts on Christmas Eve. Considered primarily as the patron saint of children, Nicholas is also invoked by sailors, merchants, bakers, travelers and pawnbrokers, and with Saint Andrew is honored as the co-patron of Russia. 

In spite of his widespread fame, Saint Nicholas, from the historian’s point of view, is hardly more than a name. He was born in the last years of the third century in Asia Minor. His uncle, the archbishop of Myra in Lycia, ordained him and appointed him abbot of a nearby monastery. At the death of the archbishop, Nicholas was chosen to fill the vacancy, and he served in this position until his death. About the time of the persecutions of Diocletian, he was imprisoned for preaching Christianity but was released during the reign of Emperor Constantine.

Popular legends have involved Saint Nicholas in a number of charming stories, one of which relates Nicholas’ charity toward the poor. A man of Patara had lost his fortune, and finding himself unable to support his three maiden daughters, was planning to turn them into the streets as prostitutes. Nicholas heard of the man’s intentions and secretly threw three bags of gold through a window into the home, thus providing dowries for the daughters. The three bags of gold mentioned in this story are said to be the origin of the three gold balls that form the emblem of pawnbrokers. 

After Nicholas’ death on December 6 in or around 345, his body was buried in the cathedral at Myra. It remained there until 1087, when seamen of Bari, an Italian coastal town, seized the relics of the saint and transferred them to their own city. Veneration for Nicholas had already spread throughout Europe as well as Asia, but this occurrence led to a renewal of devotion in the West. Countless miracles were attributed to the saint’s intercession. His relics are still preserved in the church of San Nicola in Bari; an oily substance, known as Manna di S. Nicola, which is highly valued for its medicinal powers, is said to flow from them. 

The story of Saint Nicholas came to America in distorted fashion. The Dutch Protestants carried a popularized version of the saint’s life to New Amsterdam, portraying Nicholas as nothing more than a Nordic magician and wonder-worker. Our present-day conception of Santa Claus has grown from this version. Catholics should think of Nicholas as a saint, a confessor of the faith and the bishop of Myra — not merely as a jolly man from the North Pole who brings happiness to small children. Many countries and locations honor St. Nicholas as patron: Greece, Russia, the Kingdom of Naples, Sicily, Lorraine, and many cities in Italy, Germany, Austria, and Belgium. 

~Excerpted in part from Lives of the Saints for every day of the Year, Volume III 

Novenas

Novena to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

Day 8

PRAYER TO THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception

of the Blessed Virgin Mary, did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son, we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve Her from all stain, so too You would permit us, purified through Her intercession, to come unto You. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.

Amen.

O Most gracious Virgin Mary, beloved Mother of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, intercede with him for us that we be granted the favor which we petition for so earnestly in this novena…O Mother of the Word Incarnate, we feel animated with confidence that your prayers in our behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. O Glorious Mother of God, in memory of your joyous Immaculate Conception, hear our prayers and obtain for us our petitions.

(State your intention here…)

O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be the Divine Will.Amen.