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A miracle of faith

Posted By May 3, 2012 | 12:55 pm | Lead Story #1
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Photos of the Sisters’ visit can be found in Photo Galleries

My Miraculous Cure

Link to Sister Marie Simon-Pierre’s talk at Bioethics & Spirituality Conference hosted by Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy and the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.

http://www.thedivinemercy.org/news/4917

Witness to a Miracle
Link to a transcript of the talk given Tuesday, May 1, 2012, by Sr. Marie Thomas Fabre at the Medicine, Bioethics & Spirituality Conference hosted by Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy and the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.

http://www.marian.org/news.php?NID=4916

 

Medical professionals told to accompany patients with ‘mercy in your heart’

By Tanya Connor

WORCESTER – Nuns who experienced the miracle that led to Pope John Paul II’s beatification touched local people – from children to doctors – this week. The sisters spoke of struggling with hope because of an incurable disease and of finding victory through surrender.
Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, healed of Parkinson’s disease in 2005, and Sister Marie Thomas Fabre, then her superior and now Mother General of the Little Sisters of Catholic Maternity in France, were visiting the United States for the first time.
They came at the invitation of Father Kazimierz Chwalek and Marie Romagnano, founder of Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy, to speak at its eighth annual Medicine, Bioethics and Spirituality Conference Tuesday and Wednesday at the College of the Holy Cross. Father Chwalek is provincial for the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in the United States and Argentina. Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy is an Apostolate of the Marian Fathers, whose ministry includes the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge.
The sisters, who speak only in French, gave a talk  at the shrine last Sunday, and are to speak from 2-4 p.m. this Sunday at St. Paul Cathedral. Monday they spoke at St. Joseph Elementary School in Webster and St. Stephen Elementary School in Worcester.
You’d have thought the pope himself had come to St. Stephen’s, such was the excitement. Local adults arranged for photos and the French nuns snapped several too.
Among children crowding around them was first-grader Caroline Villa, named for Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II), who showed off her statue of the pontiff.
“I think that it was an amazing experience because I don’t know how many people get to meet or listen to somebody that’s received a miracle,” enthused eighth-grader Michaela Lavoie.
“I found it interesting to be in the same room with someone who has experienced a miraculous cure, and the one who lived through it with her,” Pauline Ludwig said after the sisters spoke at the conference Tuesday. Mrs. Ludwig is pastoral associate at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Webster and a nurse in Catholic Charities’ Home Care program.
She said she liked Sister Thomas’ suggestions for how her testimony can affect medical professionals’ work: walking with suffering, watching over patients and caregivers, accompanying patients by listening, going from compassion to prayer and prayer to compassion, considering sickness as a slow gestation, and “the night shines as the day.”
At St. Stephen’s Sister Judith-Marie Dupuy, of the diocesan Haitian Apostolate, translated the sisters’ French into English for the children and teachers. Conference participants had written English translations to follow along.
At the conference Sister Thomas showed pictures of Sister Simon-Pierre and her handwriting before and after her healing.
“I underlined this,” Mrs. Ludwig said of something Sister Thomas said of Sister Simon-Pierre: She embraced “her sickness and did not run away from it. … The disease may evolve and advance, but the person has the capability to recover interiorly. The periods of desolation can mysteriously become the beginning of inner joy.”
Sister Thomas said she believed this healing grace was Sister Simon-Pierre’s first victory, before her physical healing. The sisters told that story this way.
Sister Simon-Pierre was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in June 2001, when she was 40, having been sick for years. It was hard for her to watch Pope John Paul II on television, because his Parkinson’s revealed her future. But she felt he could understand her experience.
Sister Thomas struggled to understand.
“She would insist … the patient with Parkinson’s needed a lot of understanding from his surroundings to overcome it and to not feel judged,” she said. “I had to learn to listen to this Little Sister differently.”
After Pope John Paul II’s death April 2, 2005, Sister Simon-Pierre’s symptoms worsened. But the Scripture remained with her: “If you believe, you will see the glory of God.” (Jn 11:40)
Speaking Tuesday on the first anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s beatification, she said she saw that glory there, as she carried his relics in St. Peter’s Square. On Jan. 14, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI had recognized her healing as a miracle.
April 8, 2005, after Pope John Paul II’s funeral, the  sisters felt the need to pray for Sister Simon-Pierre. After Pope Benedict XVI opened the way, on May 13, 2005, for his predecessor’s beatification, the superior general asked the congregation to seek his intercession, so their sick sister could continue her nursing work.
When Sister Simon-Pierre wanted to cancel a medical exam, Sister Thomas told her to go, so if she was healed one day, it would be easier to prove it was a miracle.
“I had no particular revelation,” Sister Thomas said. “She had fought interiorly for years to say this ‘Yes, Father’ in faith. … But what was his will? We still wanted to believe the impossible.”
“On June 1st, I had reached the end,” Sister Simone-Pierre said. “The pain was unbearable, and the tremors were growing much worse.” June 2 she told Sister Thomas she needed to be replaced in the maternity ward and that she accepted eventual wheelchair confinement; it would not prevent her religious life.
“Her struggle was ending; she was accepting who she was, a sick Little Sister but entirely a Little Sister,” Sister Thomas noted. “I remember having said interiorly: ‘What a victory! Thank you, Lord!”
Sister Simon-Pierre told her she could no longer write, and Sister Thomas, without reflecting on it, asked her to write John Paul II’s name.
“Unconsciously, I wanted to verify that she could still write, it was not the end, and that she should not give up,” she said. “Did I interiorly obey an intuition of the Holy Spirit, not counting on its outcome? … I felt that through this writing, the glory of God would one day be manifested. …
“Facing the unintelligible writing of Sr. Simon-Pierre, I became speechless and remained in prayer. … I remember praying and thinking at this moment that we had tried everything and that we had reached the end: ‘Lord, the only thing left is a miracle!’ That’s how I expressed my thoughts before she left: ‘John Paul II has not said his last word.’”
That night, Sister Simon-Pierre said, she felt compelled to write, and wrote legibly. The next morning she was not stiff. She went to the chapel to thank God. She told Sister Thomas that afternoon that she was healed through Pope John Paul II’s intercession and showed her her handwriting.
“It was really hers, but I had not seen it in years,” Sister Thomas said. In shock, she took time to digest the news, and surprised the sisters by spontaneously invoking “Saint John Paul II” as they prayed the rosary.
After the neurologist was shocked to find no more signs of Parkinson’s June 7, the congregation began a novena of thanksgiving to Pope John Paul II. A letter was sent to the postulator for his cause and the investigation began.
“I am aware that this unexplained healing … is a pure merciful grace and that miracles are not daily occurrences,” Sister Thomas told the medical professionals. But, she said, “I sincerely believe that accompanying a patient with mercy in your heart, as you are doing, is already within itself, in our dehumanized society, a miracle of faith, hope, and charity.”
Sister Simon-Pierre said she happily continues nursing.
“Nothing is the same anymore,” she said. “A friend has gone far away from this earth while remaining so close to my heart.”

 Assisted suicide is not ‘death with dignity’
By Tanya Connor

Suicide is contagious. It leads to copycats. Media guidelines seek to prevent copycats, but propaganda favoring physician assisted suicide does the opposite.
John Howland, executive director of the Worcester Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, made these points in a talk about suicide at the Medicine, Bioethics and Spirituality Conference Tuesday at the College of the Holy Cross.
Why this topic?
Because on November 6, 2012, Massachusetts voters face a ballot initiative, the “Death with Dignity” Act, asking if they want to legalize physician assisted suicide here, he said.
Physician assisted suicide was legalized in Oregon in 1994 and in Washington state in 2008, Dr. Howland said.
Suicide was again addressed in a panel which Bishop McManus led with a look at patient autonomy,
Media guidelines to prevent copycat suicides include not romanticizing suicide or saying it relieves suffering; it causes survivors to suffer, Dr. Howland said.
While suicide is contagious, it can be prevented, he said, speaking of the importance of saying it is wrong.
Suicide is contrary to the Hippocratic Oath, in which doctors promise not to give anyone deadly drugs or make such a suggestion, Dr. Howland said. It is contrary to stewardship to take the life God

entrusted to human beings, he said. It is contrary to natural law; it violates the instinct for self-preservation. It is contrary to society, depriving society of one of its members and encouraging copycats. And it is contrary to love of God, self and neighbor.
Means of prevention include access to services, treatment, education, media guidelines, and hospitalizing suicidal persons, even against their will, he said.
But legalized assisted suicide undercuts the rationale for prevention, glorifying suicide and removing the stigma, and it makes suicide rates rise, Dr. Howland said. Suggesting that physician assisted suicide as a solution for suffering encourages more people to see suicide as a way out of their difficulties rather than seeking real solutions, he said.
He contrasted preventing suicide with assisting suicide. The former sees suicide as a tragedy, prevention as compassion, and is about life, safe prescribing and the doctor as healer. The latter sees suicide as a choice, suicide as compassion, and is about death, lethal prescribing and the doctor as executioner.
During the panel, Dr. Howland responded to a question about what Catholics should do to keep physician assisted suicide out  of Massachusetts. He suggested working with others in one’s parish and finding opportunities to volunteer with a statewide organization which can be found online at www.nodoctorprescribedsuicide.com.
People in health care, especially, have the obligation to care for people, support families and ease pain, he said. It’s not appropriate to just say, “No: assisted suicide is a bad idea.”
Father Kazimierz Chwalek, Marian Fathers provincial, told about his experiences talking with suicidal people. If a person feels that “you feel with your heart, you have a better chance to communicate,” he said.
One might tell the suicidal person “God loves you, the Lord wants you to live, he gave you this life, I’ll miss you.” One might pray with, or at least for, the person.
Speaking about patient autonomy, Bishop McManus said the principle is valid – freedom and intelligence allow a person to act in an autonomous way. But in western civilization autonomy seems to be unbridaled; the attitude is, “man is the measure of all things.”
That is not realistic for theists, who see human beings as creatures in relationship to the Creator.
A well-formed conscience, guided by God’s word, Church teaching and others’ advice, must be part of the equation. A well-formed conscience is diametrically opposed to current thinking that, appealing to conscience is appealing to personal opinion, the bishop said.
Responding to a question about autonomy and a woman seeking an abortion, Bishop McManus appealed to biology: “The woman is carrying a life that is other than her own.” If the woman is a believer, one can also appeal to theology, speaking of autonomy in relationship to God as creator.
Responding to a question about the direction the secular world is taking for the mentally handicapped, Bishop McManus said it is the wrong direction. Secularist dignity depends on how much one contributes to society, he said, but human dignity is not bestowed by the state or one’s parents, but by God. That insight drives how Catholic institutions deal with the mentally challenged.
Father Chwalek talked about the mentally handicapped people who work at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge. The one who looks the most handicapped is the most witty, he said.
“The innocent love that comes out,” he marveled. “I don’t know who’s mentally handicapped?”

My Miraculous Cure

Link to Sister Marie Simon-Pierre’s talk at Bioethics & Spirituality Conference hosted by Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy and the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.

http://www.thedivinemercy.org/news/4917

Witness to a Miracle
Link to a transcript of the talk given Tuesday, May 1, 2012, by Sr. Marie Thomas Fabre at the Medicine, Bioethics & Spirituality Conference hosted by Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy and the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.

http://www.marian.org/news.php?NID=4916