A blind man twice cured by Mary
[... ] Perhaps not all of our readers are aware of the impressive number of Marian shrines the Oblates are in charge of in the world. There are more than fifty such places, on the five continents, where they make the Virgin Mary known and loved.
One of the most famous Marian shrines entrusted to the Oblates is, without a doubt, that of Our Lady of Madhu, in Sri Lanka. Since 1851, the Oblates have been at this ancient place of pilgrimage which attracts thousands of pilgrims each year for the main feasts of the Blessed Virgin. Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary is honored there. In 1933, Pope Pius XI donated an enormous Rosary to the sanctuary. It is a splendid work of art. The “Triumphal March” of Our Lady is a procession that is met with indescribable enthusiasm. The earth from Madhu is recognized as a cure against the bite of the poisonous snakes, like the cobra. Many conversions have also occurred there.
Fr. Jules Collin, OMI.
Here is how the Virgin of Madhu restored the sight of a blind man and converted him to the Catholic faith. Father Jules Collin, OMI, witnessed the miracle in 1891. Father Pierre Duchaussois, OMI, recalls this double wonder in a very interesting page that I have taken from his excellent book Under the Fires of Ceylon.
One day, a tall young man, a follower of the god Siva, came to ask the Oblate missionary to admit him into the Catholic religion. He explained himself as follows:
- “I was a mason’s helper. A splash of lime burned my eyes. Devastated to find myself blind, I implored all our Hindu gods, but without result. A very beautiful lady showed herself to the eyes of my soul and said: Go to Madhu and become a Christian. I did not know of Madhu, nor what being a Christian meant, and I did not care to find out. The lady returned and repeated: Go to Madhu and become a Christian. I still did nothing. But the lady reappeared a third time and said with force: Go to Madhu and become a Christian. If not, you are lost for always in this world and in the other. Then I became afraid. I inquired and had someone take me to Madhu. I put some earth on my eyes and my sight returned completely. Now, Father, instruct me and baptize me.”
Some time later, Fr. Collin learned that his young man was behaving badly and summoned him:
- “What! You offend God so seriously after so many promises? “
- “But, I do not have anything to reproach myself for, Father. The young swami who replaced you once said to me that I could act in this way. The girl, who was promised to me in marriage, refused to give up the Siva religion to become my wife. I had put that as a condition. So, I asked the young swami if she could nevertheless cook my rice. He answered: Yes, she can cook your rice. So why do you reprimand me? “
- “You rascal! That young swami was not yet acquainted with the wiles of your language. He believed that it was only to prepare your meal. If he had known that to cook the rice for somebody meant to live with him as if one were married, he would never have approved. Leave this person as soon as possible and go back to your duty. Otherwise, the Blessed Virgin could well regret having cured you and let you know it.”
Santiago - that was the name he had chosen at baptism - promised but did not keep his word. The priest’s threat happened: he became blind again. But he went back to Madhu, made his confession, sincerely renewed his resolutions, put some of the miraculous earth on his eyes and his sight was again restored. Twenty years later, Fr. Collin met Santiago. He had not married because the young Hindu girl, the only one that he loved, had been obstinate in her paganism; but he lived, indeed, as a good Christian.
André DORVAL, OMI