The Blessings of Mary
Taken from A GARLAND FOR OUR LADY
Irish Ursulines, 1920 with IMPRIMATUR
A Cure Through Our Lady, Help of Christians
The following wonderful answer to prayer occurred in 1877:
Giuseppa Longhi was then ten years old. She had been paralysed for a long time in consequence of violent convulsions; her right arm was lifeless, she could not stand erect, and had lost the power of speech. All the remedies prescribed by physicians were unavailing. Her pious mother had recourse to Our Lady Help of Christians. On the 23rd of May, the eve of the Feast on which Holy Church invokes Our Lady under this sweet title, the poor woman carried her afflicted child to the shrine of Valdocco to implore a hitherto hopeless cure. She then went to Dom Bosco that he might read over the invalid the blessing of Our Lady Help of Christians.
It happened that the abode of the saintly priest was thronged with visitors that evening, and all were filled with compassion at the sight of the unfortunate child. Her sufferings were pitiful. She could neither stand upright nor sit, and, in spite of her mother's vigilant eye, she fell every moment to one side or the other. On seeing the crowd that preceded her, and considering her daughter's condition, the mother thought she could not wait her turn, and was preparing to leave with a heavy heart, when those present, forgetting their own necessities, offered to let her pass in before them.
Giuseppa was carried before Dom Bosco, and laid upon a sofa. Her mother explained her complicated ailments. The holy priest exhorted the poor woman to confide in the tender mercy of Our Lady, and told her to kneel down while he pronounced on the little invalid the blessing of Mary, "Help of Christians." He then told the child to make the sign of the Cross. She was about to obey with her left hand, but Dom Bosco quickly interposed: "No, not the left hand, my child. You must use your right hand in making the Sign of the Cross."
"Her right hand is paralysed," observed the mother. "Let us see if it is," said Dom Bosco. And he repeated his injunction to the little girl. To the astonishment of her mother, she then lifted her paralysed arm, raised her hand to her forehead, then to her breast and to her left and right shoulders.
"Good!" exclaimed Dom Bosco. "You have made the Sign of the Cross well, but you have not said the words. Now repeat the Sign and pronounce the words as I do myself -----In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
The child, who had been dumb for more than a month, found her tongue loosed. She repeated the sign and pronounced the words. Then in an ecstasy of joy she exclaimed: "Oh, Mother, the Blessed Virgin has cured me!"
On hearing these words, the overjoyed mother could only weep. Her joy and gratitude may be imagined. "Now that the Blessed Virgin has cured you," continued Dom Bosco, "make haste to thank her, and recite from your heart a 'Hail Mary' in honour of the Help of Christians." Giuseppa recited the prayer very devoutly, in a distinct voice. However, this was not enough: it remained to be seen if she could stand and walk. Until now she was powerless to do either. Dom Bosco told her to walk around the room. She did so several times with a firm step. In fact, the cure was complete and perfect. The little girl, unable any longer to contain her exuberant gratitude, rushed to the door and, throwing it open, showed herself to the people, who a few minutes before had beheld her an apparently incurable cripple.
"Thank Our Blessed Lady with me," she said. "Her mercy has cured me. I can move my hand; I can walk; and I suffer no pain now."
This spectacle and the words accompanying it caused indescribable emotion in all present. They gathered round the favoured child -----the miracolata-----as they called her----- some weeping, others praying aloud and giving glory to God. The mother and child hastened to return thanks at the shrine of Our Lady Help of Christians.
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