January 25, 2017
The story of St. Gianna’s intercession in the lives of my family began long before I ever knew who St. Gianna was.
About 1 year before my granddaughter was born, my son suffered a seizure while standing at the foot of St. Mary’s altar at a wedding we had attended. He was suffering from alcoholism at the time. He was rushed to Mayo Clinic – St. Mary’s Campus, entered rehab and recovered.
In 2008, my son and his girlfriend learned that she was pregnant. She had been using illegal street drugs and the OB/Gyn told her that she needed to have an abortion and that because of her drug use, her child would be born with physical abnormalities and mental retardation. My son stood firm and said they would not have an abortion. They were going to have the child and would accept it, and whatever challenges came with it. 9 months later, a perfect baby girl was born. They named her Gianna.
Fast forward about 8 years later. I had recently been attending Masses at St. Patrick Parish and became involved in the Adoration group. I saw the Shrine to St. Gianna, learned about her from Fr. Matt and brought my prayers for my family to St. Gianna for her intercession. In 2016, my son lost his job and began drinking heavily from April through September. His liver was failing; he looked green and had lost much weight. After his daughter’s 9th birthday in September, his father and I convinced him to see a doctor. He was admitted to the hospital for 3 days and sent home with instructions to return in January. He probably would not have lived to see the appointment if we had waited for it.
One week later, he was back in the hospital and was told he was suffering from peritonitis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the lining of the abdomen. Doctors drew out 2 liters of fluid from his abdomen and said his liver was not functioning.
I received a referral from Dr. Emanuel, a friend and colleague from my nursing days at Loyola. She recommended a liver specialist and miraculously, we got an appointment 3 days later. On October 19th, 2016, doctors drew out 6 liters of fluid from his abdomen. Two weeks later, doctors drew out another 6 liters.
I told my son that this was the Year of Mercy and he should come to the healing service at St. Patrick Parish and touch the relics of St. Gianna. The Saint's daughter, Gianna Emanuela, was at the service that night. Later that week, I convinced my son to go to confession after Wednesday morning mass. Fr. Matt heard his confession, gave him absolution and then brought him the relic of St. Gianna. My son touched and kissed the relic, a green scarf that had been worn by St. Gianna when she was alive.
When we returned to the doctor the next week, there was no fluid to be removed from my son’s abdomen. My son’s strength is returning and he is able to eat again. All signs of infection are gone and his liver enzymes are at normal levels. He went from near death and waiting to be put on the liver transplant list, to being completely recovered within a week of going to confession and touching the relic of St. Gianna.
January 20, 2017
Testimonial: I first witnessed St. Gianna's intercession when I placed a prayer card that had been touched to her gloves on my daughter's father's back. "What are you putting on my back, it is really hot," his back pain ceased. My daughter was a baby then and St. Gianna became a presence in our lives as a prayer card next to my bed and a saint we prayed to every now and then. Nicolette chose her name for her upcoming Confirmation. While planning our summer vacation out to the mid-west states we found the shrine in Yorkville and decided to stop by on our way back to New Jersey. In April 2016, my daughter was diagnosed with adolescent scoliosis and had to have spinal fusion surgery in September. About an hour before we arrived in Yorkville on July 14, I had this sudden feeling that we had to get there by 5:00, driving quicker, we made it just as they were closing up. Lisa, Fr. Matt and Deacon Doug all went out of their way to make sure we could venerate what St. Gianna truly wanted her to hold. The words just tumbled out of Lisa's mouth: 'She needs the shawl.’ Lisa did not know about the scoliosis, but the white shawl is what came to Nicolette. On July 16, we met Gianna Emanuela at the Warminster shrine and on the 17th Nicolette gave her a note asking her to pray to her mom for her surgery. We continued to visit that shrine every month since. But, everything around me was crumbling: I was alone, terrified of losing my daughter to the surgery, trying to choose the right procedure and surgeon, unemployed, and we had to find a new home. Something made me go back to CHOP and find a new surgeon and as soon as I met him I knew he was the one. Then Nicolette's surgery date was changed. She took my face in her hands and said to me, ‘We have to go to Italy, God has a plan for us, have faith and believe.’ On top of everything else going on I have great fears of flying during presidential election times, but, I suddenly knew it was ALL going to be okay. We were able to expedite passports and join Fr. Matt and Lisa on the pilgrimage. We were so blessed to be in the places where St. Gianna lived, worked and prayed. Nicolette's spine had curved from 58 to 85 degrees in just 6 months but her surgery was a huge success. They were able to straighten her spine to less than 10 degrees, she had no real back pain and did not have to take more than a few doses of morphine while in the hospital. Nicolette is back in school and just started to return to her rhythmic gymnastics. On December 26 Nicolette had her 6 week follow up. Since I am not allowed to enter Pennsylvania anymore without stopping in Warminster, we returned to St. Gianna's shrine again. It was off hours but one of the shrine volunteers that we never met before met us there to open the case for Nicolette so she could hold St. Gianna's gloves. Then she put a box in front of us and took out St. Gianna's shawl. The white one that was in Yorkville 5 months ago.
January 10, 2017
Recently, I was hospitalized due to severe abdominal pain. I prayed to St. Gianna with her relic and asked my husband to pray for me with the relic also. The condition was identified as an infection and medication was administered to cure it, but the real grace from the healing was for my marriage. I believe St. Gianna's intercession brought about a change in my marriage making it more rich and happy that it had been for many years. Praise God!
Jan. 10, 2017
I attended the healing Mass August 27 and venerated the relic of St. Gianna. It was very appropriate that it was a head scarf that she had worn because I was having brain surgery two days later. The procedure was to remove an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) which bled causing me to have a stroke. Very scary times indeed. As a mater of fact, Father Matt also anointed me that night too. I am sure St. Gianna, being the Patron Saint of Doctors, helped guide the hands of the Neurosurgeon. The surgery was so successful that I am happy to say that four months later, I have no issues, no therapy, no drugs and no restrictions. It's like it never happened! Christmas and Thanksgiving with my family this year was even more special than normal! There is much more to this story. Our Lord has a way of letting you know that he is answering your prayers. I need to also thank St. Michael the Archangel, St. Martin de Porres and our Miraculous Mother Mary. I will pray this thanks every day the rest of my life!
Jan. 6, 2017
I wanted to share an experience from last month's healing service. My husband and I attended the mass and he intended to leave after mass. He has a cyst on his vertebrate that causes much pain at times. When it acts up the pain can be unbearable for weeks. As mass began I really felt that he needed to stay for the healing service. He did and venerated the relics as they were brought around. That night he felt the pain starting to ease up and the next day his pain was almost gone. I believe it was the intercession of St. Gianna easing his pain. I give thanks and praise to God that we have this powerful intercessor in our parish.
I was at the mass and healing service. It was indeed a beautiful experience to touch the blessed relics but it was breathtaking to shake hands with and hug St. Gianna's daughter. I carry her prayer card in my purse at all times and say the prayer daily. I have visited the shrine on my walking excursions, but after 'touching' Gianna Emanuela in person the shrine means so much more to me. Thank you Father Matt for inviting this wonderful person to our parish.