Monday, May 14, 2007

Brazilian's Seek Miracle "Drug"

Now, I'm not talking about the popular U2 song, but a story that has gained attention since the Holy Father started planning his trip to Brazil and the canonization of St. Galvao.

These tiny pills are made out of rice paper and inscribed with the prayer: "After the birth, the Virgin remained intact; Mother of God, intercede on our behalf."

Brazilians swear by them and will wait hours in line at the monestary that makes them. CNS provides some stories of people claiming to have been healed by the intercession of St. Galvao through the pills:
"The first time I swallowed the pills I was 8 years old," said Marta Monteiro, who this time brought her husband and teenage son. "I was sick and some aunts came to the monastery to get the pills for me."
Monteiro said that when she was pregnant with her son she also came to receive the pills, which are said to help women in labor. Now, she said, she occasionally will stop by the monastery to obtain the pills.
Katia Cristina de Souza, 35, said she came to the monastery because she was unable to wait the long hours to see the pope and witness the canonization. De Souza was diagnosed with breast cancer in February; in March, when she started chemotherapy, she also started to come on a weekly basis to receive Frei Galvao's pills.
De Souza, wearing a green bandanna to hide her loss of hair from the treatment, said she has begun to feel better, and that this improvement comes from the blessing granted to her by St. Galvao.

The pills got started when a woman who was experiencing a difficult pregnancy came to the Friar asking for prayers. St. Galvao gave her a rolled up piece of rice paper with the prayer on it and told her to consume it. She did and experienced a miraculous healing. After that expectant mothers went to the Friar asking for the miracle pills and the tradition has grown to anyone who is sick and seeking healing. What is interesting is that both the miracles needed for his canonization included the consumption of these pills.

Now, I can see someone raising the red flag about superstitions and there may be some cases of superstition floating around down there. I think what is important is not the consumption of a rolled up piece of rice paper but rather the faith of the people and the prayer for Our Lady's intercession. Which, after all, is one of the things the Pope praised St. Galvao for in his canonization Mass.

Thomas has a very good post on this topic...

[photo credit: AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano via Thomas]

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