Do Miracles Happen?

When Scott Bennett, The Phoenix Man, was in the hospital waiting for a donor heart, I was losing faith everyday as I watched him struggle to breathe as he walked the hospital corridors. After Scott received a new heart and after a long month living in San Francisco, I sent what I thought would be my last email to family and friends. We were both thankful to be back home and I was ready to go back to work. My brother Larry’s response to this email was unexpected and a reminder that miracles do happen: ‘Besides Father John Houle, Scott is the only other person I know who had a miracle bestowed upon them!’

Feeling ecstatic about Scott’s new heart, I jokingly responded: “I’ve never thought about Scott’s heart transplant being a miracle, but miracles do happen every day. You just need to be aware of them. Driving back to Sonoma County yesterday, I saw hundreds of miracles. We call them cows. See?’

That reminded me that my Uncle Johnny, Father John Houle, received a medical miracle on February 23, 1990 as he lay dying from pulmonary fibrosis, a terminal lung disease. As my brother Larry, sister Mary Lou, and I stood out in the hallway of our Uncle’s hospital room, Father Parish walked over to where we stood. He explained that he was going to pray over Father Houle with a first-class relic, a sliver of bone from then Blessed Claude la Colombiere (1641-1682: Blessed Claude was a 17th century Jesuit Priest who served as St. Margaret Mary Alacoque’s confessor). As Father Parish walked into Uncle Johnny’s room, we three siblings looked at each other with serious skepticism.

Within a few days, Uncle Johnny was sitting up on the side of his hospital bed eating an apple, something no one thought he would ever be able to do again. Father Houle’s recovery was considered to be the third miracle necessary for Blessed Claude to be canonized a Saint. On May 31, 1992, Father Parish and Uncle Johnny flew to the Vatican to witness Pope John Paul II complete the canonization for now Saint Claude la Colombiere.

Was Scott’s heart transplant a miracle? What about when he had aspergillus pneumonia and the odds were against him once again. Another miracle? Read the book and share with me your thoughts.


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