200. ST. Catherine of Siena. Part five
We were talking of her miracles regarding the curing of the sick
Messer Matteo was the Rector of Misericordia hospital. He contracted plague and became a patient in his own hospital. He gave his dying confession to Raymond and described his symptoms. A doctor said that his symptoms were far advanced. Meanwhile Catherine heard about his illness. She came to see him. She started shouting before she reached him, “Get up, Messer Matteo, this is no time to rest in a soft bed!”At these words Matteo smiled. He got up, completely cured!. The fever, and painful swelling in the groin, vanished. As she was leaving the hospital, she met Raymond, who was unaware that his friend had been cured. He begged her to cure him. She humbly said, “…Do you think I am God…?” Raymond said, a little harshly, “You can say that to anyone else, but not to me, for I know your secrets….”. She smiled and said, “ Cheer up, he won’t die this time.” The other witness to this miracle was Nicolo di Andrea, who was present throughout the event . Besides, hospital staff and other priests were also present.
There was a certain saint and hermit Fra Santi__a true saint. Holy virgin found him dying in his hermitage. She whispered in his ear, “Have no fear. You are not going to die this time.”She had him moved to Misericordia hospital. He got worse by the hour. Death seemed to be very near.
When Catherine returned to the hospital she saw the advanced state of his disease. She again whispered in his ear, “Don’t be afraid, because you won’t die.”
Santi remained very sick for several days, much longer than the usual time for such patients to live. Catherine visited him in the end. This time she shouted in his ear, “I command you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ not to die.”At that point Santi revived. He sat up and asked for something to eat. He lived for many years afterwards and was present at St Catherine’s death.
Santi told Raymond and others later what holy virgin had said in his ear. He considered it a real miracle, genuine resuscitation. The power that had cured him was Divine Power. He was believed due to his sanctity. For nearly thirty-six years he had been living an absolutely blameless life as a hermit and was held in the deepest respect.
She cured many others during the epidemic of plague, including Raymond, which I have already described (blog 196). When she visited Pisa she cured a youth of about 20 years who had been suffering from quotidian fever (a type of malaria) for eighteen months. He had lost all his strength. When holy virgin saw his pale face she was filled with compassion. She said to him, “Go, son, with the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, for I do not want you to suffer from the fever anymore.”He was completely cured. I (Raymond) was myself a witness to this event. I also saw him quite healthy several years later.
A woman named Gema suffered from quinsy. Inside of her throat was completely blocked and she was near suffocation. She came to Catherine and said to her, “Mother if you do not help me I am going to die.” Catherine had compassion on the woman. She put her hand on her throat and made the sign of cross over her. She got cured at once.
There were two devout young men who used to take down her letters. They are both still alive( writes Raymond). One of them was called Neri and the other Stefano. Neri became sick while they were all visiting Genoa. He developed pain in his bowels. The attacks of pain were so severe that he would howl with pain. He would crawl on the floor to find some position to alleviate the pain. Everybody was filled with mercy but nobody could do anything. Catherine was approached by Raymond and others. For some reason she did not immediately come to his rescue but advised standard medical treatment. Maybe, Lord wanted her not to intervene at that time. Two doctors started treatment, but Neri got worse. Raymond described his condition to the other Friars at supper. Stefano got up, and with tears in his eyes, went to the virgin’s room and threw himself at her feet. He asked her, humbly, to help his brother and companion who had come on this journey for love of God and herself, and not to let her corpse remain on foreign land.
Catherine replied that if God wanted to reward him for his good deeds, Stefano should not be upset, one should learn to submit oneself to the will of God. But Stefano was unmoved by these arguments. He kept on begging. Finally holy virgin said, that if Neri did not get better by morning, Stefano should remind her when she goes to church to receive Communion, and she would pray to the Lord. Next morning after she had received Communion, as usual, she went into ecstasy. After she had recovered she turned to Stefano and said “You have received the grace you wanted”. “Will he get better?” Stefano asked. “Off course he will get better” she replied. Neri indeed recovered. But Stefano got sick.
To be continued