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Cardinal Newman’s Roses

This is a lovely story about the woman and child whose life-saving miracle led to Cardinal John Henry Newman’s canonization. Excerpt:

“Because the bleeding was so heavy I didn’t know if the placenta was hanging by a thread, and that I had done more damage by going upstairs … I didn’t know if that scream would have ripped the last thread off the placenta and killed me instantly. I didn’t want to scream because I didn’t know if it would be my last scream.”

Instead, Melissa paused in the hope that her children might soon leave the kitchen to look for her, but the silence from downstairs left her nervous. In the midst of her desperation, Melissa said: “Please, Cardinal Newman, make the bleeding stop.”

“Just then, the bleeding stopped completely. It was just flowing very rapidly and then came to a sudden, complete stop,” she recalls.

Astonished, she climbed to her feet and said: “Thank you, Cardinal Newman, you made the bleeding stop.”

“Just then, the scent of roses just filled the air,” she recalled. “It was a powerful scent, it was so intense. It was more intense than if you went to a garden, or a store and smelled roses. I inhaled the smell of the roses and thought, ‘Wow!’

“It lasted for several seconds, it felt like a while, then it stopped and I said, ‘Cardinal Newman did you just make those roses for me?’ I knew he did and thought, ‘What a great gift.’ Then he made a second blast of roses up there. I thought, ‘Thank you Cardinal Newman.’

“Just then I realised I was OK and the baby was OK. I knew the baby was fine. I just couldn’t imagine that Cardinal Newman would stop the bleeding [and then after that] the baby wouldn’t make it. I knew in my heart that she was fine.”

Please read the whole thing. The Catholic Church investigated the case, and accepted it as a bona fide miracle. This was the second one officially accepted by the Church, and the one that made it possible for Pope Francis to canonize the 19th century English convert.

Here’s a tiny mystical experience that happened to me yesterday in Krakow. I left my hotel to go meet a contact. As you know, I’m here in Poland doing interviews for my next book. As I was walking down the street, I saw a woman on the other side of the street wearing a shirt with the slogan “Do little things with great love”. I recognized this as the core spiritual philosophy of St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower. The epigraph for my book The Little Way of Ruthie Leming is based on this quote of Therese’s: “What matters in life are not great deeds, but great love.”

A second after I saw the woman, I was surrounded by the aroma of roses. It lasted only a couple of seconds, but it was definite — not something imagined. I laughed, and thanked the saint.

A few minutes later, I met my contact and we began talking. Though we had never seen each other before, we rather quickly got deeply into religious discussion, and the book I’m working on. The conversation was so unusually intense and significant that I felt at liberty to mention what had happened on the way to our meeting. She looked taken aback. She said, “Therese of Lisieux is my patron saint.”

I think we both had the sense at that point that there must be something spiritually significant about our meeting. More than that, I’m not going to say. We live in a world of wonders.



about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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