Mother Maria cures diarrhea. What a saint.

Posting from the Catholic News Agency
Colorado miracle spurs German nun’s beatification

The Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration are thrilled at the approved beatification of their German founder, Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel, after a Vatican-recognized miracle in Colorado.

“We are enthusiastically surprised,” Sister Clarice Gentrup, the congregation’s vicar general, told CNA April 2.

“After all these years, we’re coming closer and closer to beatification and canonization, possibly.”

Pope Francis approved the 19th century nun’s beatification on March 27.

The miracle attributed to Mother Maria Theresia involves the healing of a Colorado Springs boy named Luke Burgie. In September 1998, at the age of four, he began suffering from a severe viral infection that caused chronic diarrhea. Many doctors and specialists could not cure him.

The step of Beatification is interesting as it requires a miracle to have taken place except in the case of a martyr where martyrdom itself is an acceptable substitute. The miracle proffered was the unexplained curing of a child’s severe diarrhea a month after he was prayed for by nuns belonging to St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration. I was unable to find facts on the child’s case which dates from February 1999 outside of this article. If we take the claims at face value, that he almost required a CT scan, and had suffered diarrhea for approximately 4 months, that would qualify as severe but not unheard of in these cases (PDF). There are also no statements made as to what medically prescribed actions the family were taking. Essentially this article is just a press release stating that the Pope signed off on the beatification, and there’s no substantial discussion of the nature of the miracle.

Website of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration

Here are two links related to beatification and the overall canonization process.

According to the sources linked on canonization, a miracle of the “second-class” is required, though The Church seems somewhat loose about that requirement. I had some trouble even determining what a second-class miracle even constitutes. According to “The Gift of Miracles” this would be defined as follows, ” a prodigy produced by the agency of a holy angel; as, for instance, when the angel of the Lord prevented the fire from burning the three children in the fiery furnace; or when an angel restores sight or life which is despaired of.”

IF (big IF) this were a miracle it would not even seem to merit classification above a third-class miracle.

UPDATE (16-Apr-2013):  The local news did not like our coverage. The questionable claims still stand. This is a poor excuse for a miracle. But we are very glad the boy is OK, there is just zero reason to call it a miracle.

Post contributed by Mark Hixson

  5 comments for “Mother Maria cures diarrhea. What a saint.

  1. April 4, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    Why all this talk of saints – or sinners? Why are so few people able to understand simple logic?

  2. April 4, 2013 at 6:30 AM

    The process of verifying miracles is rather vague and broad. If I rubbed a potato on my hand and my arthritis was healed, does that mean I killed and ate a saintly spud?

  3. One Eyed Jack
    April 4, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    I wonder how embarrassed the clergy are when they have to justify these miracles? I’m guessing not very.

    Father John: “So you say she cured a child of diarrhea?”
    Father Latrine: “Yes, she prayed and a month later he was cured.”
    Father John: “A month you say? Well, that’s something, isn’t? I can’t think of any modern cure that could work so rapidly.”
    Father Latrine: “Shall we name her Saint of Regular Bowel Movements? We don’t have one of those yet.”
    Father John: “Yes. Make it so. It is another great day for Catholicism.”

  4. jim1950a
    April 4, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    What would be a miracle of the first-class?

  5. April 4, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    To answer your question, Jim, I’ll borrow a few more sentences from “The Gift of Miracles” which is by no means a definitive guide to miracle classification, but was what I found in researching the story.

    “A first-class miracle is such a stupendous work as can be performed by the power of God alone; as, for instance, to stop the sun in its course, or to make a soul come back to its body.”

    “A miracle of the third-class is an effect that does not surpass the powers of nature, but is only miraculous in the manner in which it happens; as, for instance, when a person is all on a sudden cured of a fever or dangerous disease, or when an extraordinary occurrence takes place in the weather.”

    The stated miracle in the story seems to me at least to match up much better with the third-class miracle, not unlike the miracle Michael Phalin mentions in the comments due to his saintly spud.

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