I know this to be a fact because one happened to me.
I have suffered from knee problems for 40 years. On June 27th my family and I flew from Houston To Rome, Italy for vacation. Since we had a connecting flight the flight took us 14 hours. My knees are NEVER happy on a plane due to the air pressure and the inability to walk around much. They get badly swollen and sore.
By the time we landed in Rome my knees were killing me. We hit the ground running since we landed at 9:30 AM local time. We checked into our hotel, and my father-in-law suggested we go to St. Mary’s Basilica, which was only about 2 blocks from our hotel so well within walking distance. We took off with me not saying a word to anyone about the pain and swelling as I was determined to enjoy myself and did not want to dampen anyone else’s experience.
Unfortunately, halfway to St. Mary’s Basilica my right knee did something it has not done in over a decade. I have a bit of loose cartilage in there that sometimes decides to move around. Well, it lodged right at the top of my tibia and was rubbing there against my tibia and the base of my knee cap causing excruciating pain with every step.
They say your faith is bolstered in the most difficult of circumstances. I realized immediately what had gone wrong and knew that only a chiropractor could fix it, as he did last time it had occurred. I felt stuck, completely trapped and realized that my entire trip was about to be ruined. I almost cried more at that thought than the intense pain I was experiencing.
I forced myself with all my might to walk the remaining block to the basilica, and then to climb all the steps that lead up into the basilica. As I climbed those steps I prayed to the Virgin Mary asking Her for a miracle that I knew with complete faith She was more than capable of granting to me. When we got inside I saw a shrine to Her off to the right, which required even more painful walking. By this time I could no longer control the tears so everyone could see I was having major problems. My in-laws thought I was spiritually touched by being in the church, but my daughter recognized my pain for what it was. She was the only one to accompany me to the shrine.
I turned to her and told her what was going on and said I was going to try to kneel to say a prayer for
healing & that I needed her to stay with me. She did. As I tried to kneel I realized I had only about 50% flexibility in my right knee, so I held that leg out to the side at an odd and uncomfortable angle as I kneeled as best I could on my left knee. I prayed with all my heart, explaining the problem and telling the Holy Mother that I knew from experience only a chiropractor could move the cartilage back into place for me, but told Her that I knew if it was Her will, that She could move that cartilage for me. I also explained I was in Rome for the first time, we had plans to see the Colosseum afterward and that I did not want my knees to be a hindrance to me enjoying the trip.
As I ended my prayer and stood up and put pressure on my right leg the pain shot from my knee down to my heel and up through my hip. I saw stars. Literally. My daughter took a step forward seeing I was in distress. I took one step toward her. Severe, excruciating pain. I took one more step and the pain was even worse to the point I could barely breath and my stomach began to cramp. I told her, “go get your father. I can’t walk without help.” She replied, “Yes, Mom!” and turned to go get my husband.
At that point another woman came to pray at the shrine and she sort of behaved as though I was in her way although she had all the room in the world to walk around me. So I took one more step in an attempt to get out of her way. The THIRD step after praying to the Holy Mother. My first step WITHOUT ANY PAIN. I immediately recognized the significance of the third step. The number 3 is sacred to the Goddess in all of Her Guises, of which the Virgin Mary is but one example.
Surprised, I took another step, my fourth since praying. No pain. I then called my daughter back to me since she’d only traversed a few feet and she immediately came back asking if I needed her help. She is now an inch taller than I am so she’s capable of helping me if I need it. I told her, “no, but watch this.” I then proceeded to pound my right foot on the marble floor of the basilica. NO PAIN WHATSOEVER!!
She marveled at what I was doing because only a few minutes before she could see what an effort and how painful it was for me to walk. I told her, “Mother Mary has healed me! From the goodness of Her heart She has granted me a real miracle! I knew what went wrong with my knee instantly and only a chiropractor would be able to fix it!”
I walked around a bit with my daughter right at my elbow in case I faltered. I told her I was fine & I began to take pictures as I mentally said “Hail Mary” after “Hail Mary” as my way of saying thank you.
That was on June 27th. I walked all over Rome – including 3 hours in the Vatican, then we went on our Mediterranean cruise and I walked all over Drubrovnik, Croatia, I climbed to the summit of the volcano at Santorini over very loose volcanic rock at sometimes a 45 degree angle. I walked and walked and walked. When we visited the original Olympic Stadium at Olympia, Greece used nearly 2,000 years ago for the very f
irst Olympic games I actually RAN. Due to my problem I absolutely cannot run, but I ran in that stadium. I can’t tell you, simply cannot describe, how wonderful it felt to me to be able to run and not experience any pain or swelling afterwards.
I have not felt any knee discomfort until just the other day, and as I looked at the calendar and realized the time difference, it was EXACTLY ONE MONTH TO THE MINUTE of my healing that took place in Rome. Later that day the pain left and I’ve been fine the past four days.
Doing a bit of research for this blog entry on the Basilica I discovered several interesting facts. The Basilica houses several impor
tant reputed relics, including several fragments of the True Cross, four boards supposedly from the crib used at the Nativity, the scourging column Christ was tied to as the Romans tortured Him, and some of St. Jerome’s remains. St. Jerome is the patron saint of students and archaeologists. As an archaeology student I prayed to him for every paper and every exam throughout my 12-year college education as I worked toward my doctorate. Never once did St. Jerome let me down. Finally, there I was where some of his remains are buried, but I didn’t know that at the time I was in the Basilica or I definitely would have conveyed my appreciation to him at the time of my visit.
About the icon/shrine at which I prayed for healing, this image is known as the Salus Di Romani, “Health of the Roman People” and was attributed with the miracle of keeping the city free from plague. The image itself has been restored numerous times, most recently in the fourteenth century, but it is reputed to be originally painted on a wooden table top by none other than St. Luke himself and based on the actual likeness of the Virgin Mary. It is the oldest icon of the Virgin Mary in the world and is itself venerated as a holy relic. Again, I was totally unaware of any of this during my visit to the basilica. For me to have experienced a healing while praying to the Holy Mother in front of an icon of Her entitled Salus Di Romani cannot be a coincidence.
I don’t know if the healing will be permanent. All I do know is that faith carries you when you are at your lowest and faith sees you through when you think that no one really cares. Someone DOES care and Someone is ALWAYS listening to you with an open heart. No matter how bad things may get always remember ONE thing if nothing else:
Never forget to pray & ask for help. Help WILL come, one way or another.