A Memorare Miracle
A Memorare Miracle
By John Kilcoyne
In 1981 I began to do hospital visitations to the sick.
One summer, I walked into a ward in Bethesda Hospital and looked at a man in his early fifties with so many tattoos on his body that they dominated his entire figure. I’ll call him “George.” He had “white power” written down the side of his arms and tattoos on his face, including a swastika. As I looked down at the man, I thought, “God, what are you doing to me here?”
George asked me what I was doing there, using more profanity than language. I told him I came to pray with him, and that I hoped he didn’t mind. I don’t remember his exact response, but it was laced with profanity.
I took out my Memorare holy card and proceeded to pray the Memorare while looking down at the card, not wanting to look at George and see his response. When I finished praying, I looked up at him, and tears were streaming down the side of his face.
He looked at me and he said, “I grew up in Philadelphia, and my mother, when I was a child, prayed the Memorare with me every night before bed.”
George was in the hospital as a cardiac patient. He was to be operated on the next morning, and so we prayed and talked, and I gave him my holy card so that he could continue to pray the prayer of his childhood memory.
After his operation, we continued to meet, pray, and talk together. We got on the subject of mothers and how wonderful mothers are. I asked him if his mother was alive, and mentioned that my mother was not.
He said, “I really don’t know. I haven’t talked to her for maybe twenty years.”
“Have you ever tried?” I asked.
He said, “Maybe my sister knows. She lives somewhere around here, but I haven’t talked to her in ten years.”
“Maybe you should try to get in touch with her,” I said.
The next day I visited the hospital, a nurse greeted me and said she would try to help George locate his sister. A few days later he was released.
Three months passed. One day I walked into the ICU and saw George. I said, “George, what are you doing here? You’re back!”
“The first operation didn’t quite work,” George explained. “I’ve got to go through a whole series of operations.”
We prayed the Memorare again. George was to be operated on in two days, and I suggested to him, “How would you like it if I have Father come in and give you the sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick?
He said, “No way. No priest in the world wants to hear my confession.”
“Well, you know, I bet Father Richard would, he’s pretty good,” I said.
“Are you sure?”
“Trust me on this, George. He’s never failed me in the past.”
I called Father Richard. He went immediately to George and administered the sacraments. The next day George went through his operation. I went to see him afterwards, but he wasn’t conscious. I prayed the Memorare by his bed and I had the feeling that he was aware of it. When I came back the following day and saw a black sheet draped over the bed, I knew George had died.
Several months later, my wife and I were at a fish fry at a neighboring parish. Having traveled a lot in my career, I’ve often eaten alone; so whenever I see someone dining alone, I invite them to sit with me. An elderly lady was sitting by herself, and I asked her if she minded if my wife and I joined her for supper. She accepted. Before we started eating, I suggested that we pray. After praying, I looked down, and there on the table in front of the woman was a Memorare card. I recognized it as the same one I had given George.
I said “Oh that’s an interesting thing! Where did you get… Is that one of your favorite prayers?”
“Oh yes, this card was given to me by my son who recently died,” the woman said. She went on to tell me that she had been contacted by George through a nurse, and was living with him and ministering to him the last few months of his life. For me, it was a memorable encounter with the
Holy Spirit and the Lord.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.