Some people believe in the theory of miracles. Sister Briege McKenna believes in the reality of miracles because she sees them happen. Since 1970, when she was healed of crippling arthritis, Sister Briege has experienced more of the extraordinary ways of the Spirit than most Christians ever imagine. Today her healing ministry takes her all over the world - from huge rallies in Latin America to retreats in Korea.
Miracles Do Happen tells the story of Sister Brieges encounter with the healing power of God. It shares her insights about faith for healing, the power of the Eucharist in healing, the vital importance of prayer, and the ministry of the priesthood. Most of all, it points the way to closer fellowship with Christ, greater knowledge of his love, and deeper faith in his power to do the impossible.
Sr. Briege McKenna
Sr Briege is known world-wide for her ministry to priests and her healing ministry. A member of the Sisters of St Clare, she has travelled extensively, giving conferences in all parts of the world. Her healing from crippling arthritis is recounted in her book Miracles Do Happen (Servant Books).
- HEALED AND CALLED
Pentecost has always been a special day for me. Before I was born, my mother prayed for a girl; on Pentecost I was born.
On Christmas Day, 1959, when I was only thirteen years old my mother died suddenly. As I cried that night, I heard a voice say, "Dont worry, Ill take care of you." I didnt really understand that it was the Lord, but I felt peace. The next morning I knew I wanted to be a nun.
About a year and a half after my mother died, I went to the motherhouse of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Clare in Newry, my home town in Ireland.
The sister who came to the door asked, "What can I do for you?"
"I want to see the Mother Abbess General," I said.
So she took me to see Mother Agnes OBrien. "Child, what is it?" the old nun asked. "I want to be a nun," I said.
At that moment, in came the Abbess. "How old are you, child?"
"Im fourteen and a bit," I said.
Mother Agnes, a very saintly nun, said to me, "We cant take you now. Canon law wont allow it. Come back later."
After some time, Mother Agnes asked me to come and stay with the woman who worked in the motherhouse, although I could not yet enter the novitiate. My father had to give permission for me to move to the convent. I still had not mentioned a word about this to him.
I went to ask him on a day in early June, as he was plowing in the field. He came over to the side of the field to sit with me. We chatted for a while and then I told him, "Daddy, I want to be a nun."
He said, "Well, if thats what you want, go ahead, and if its not what you want, youll know it."
Two days before my fifteenth birthday, the novice mistress came to me and said I was to enter the convent on my birthday. She told me to notify my father so that he could come.
My poor father, not really knowing anything about nuns, sent a telegram to my brother in England:
"Come quick. Briege entering convent. Might never see her again."
I was six months a postulant and then became a novice. My father came to the ceremonies. I first saw my daddy cry when my hair was cut off and all those curls came off
When I made my first vows, on December 4, 1962, I had my first real spiritual experience. As I knelt in the chapel, waiting to be called up, I saw Jesus dressed as the Good Shepherd coming to me to take my hand, saying, "Come with me."
After several assignments in different convents, Mother Agnes, who was seriously ill, asked me to come and care for her. She had a great influence on my life. She had a great reverence for the priesthood and prayed for priests constantly. Although she never came to America, she founded our houses here. She told me much about the Sacred Heart and urged me to be a good, holy, and fervent religious.
HEALING BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
In 1964, I had developed severe pain in my feet. A doctor said it was caused by fallen arches and growing pains. But in 1965, an orthopedic surgeon diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis. I spent many months in a hospital in Belfast. Every night the sisters had to put plaster of paris boots on my feet, to try to prevent deformity. This was very painful.
One day, Mother Agnes called me to her bedside. She was leaving for the hospital. She told me she was going to die but that she would always pray for me-and she reminded me again, "Always stay close to Jesus."
I made my final profession on August 22, 1967, at the motherhouse in Newry. It was at that time that I volunteered to come to the United States. Although I volunteered, I cried for the two weeks prior to departure.
I arrived in Tampa, Florida, where I began teaching kindergarten that September. The climate had a bad effect on my condition and my arthritis worsened.
There was a doctor who said he could do very little for me but wanted to try out different medicines to see if they could help me. He prescribed all kinds of medicine. By 1968 I was on cortisone and took so much of it that it became ineffective. The pain was constant. As a side effect from the cortisone, I suffered lapses in my memory. I cried because of the pain. The doctor said there was no hope for me: I would be confined to a wheelchair. At that time I could still walk, but slowly and painfully.
I started to experience a great dryness in my spiritual life. I even began to ask myself whether I really believed in Jesus.
I didnt feel convinced of the power of the gospel. I didnt believe that Jesus would heal me. I believed that if I had gone to Lourdes or some other place there might be a healing, but I did not believe that healing could happen in normal daily living.
My soul was thirsting for the living God, but I didnt really know him. It was with this desire to know the Lord better that I went to my first prayer meeting. While I was afraid of the charismatic dimension, I was attracted to it because I saw people praying to Jesus as though he were right there. The Lord used my spiritual hunger to draw me to himself. I kept saying to myself, "There must be more to religious life and there must be more to Catholicism."
I had been good about "getting my prayers in," as a duty. But there was no joy in talking to the Lord, nor was I enthusiastic about witnessing to the power of the Lord.
However, one day before the Blessed Sacrament, I said, "Jesus, Im going to find you, whatever it takes." That was really the beginning of my spiritual search.
In the process of seeking for a deeper meaning of my religious life and a deeper, more radical commitment to the Lord, I believe that Jesus gave me a spiritual healing. In December of 1970, I attended an ecumenical retreat in Orlando. I listened to talks on the power of prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. I remember I had my shopping list of all the things I wanted from God-on my terms.
There was a priest at this prayer meeting. With my shopping list in mind, I thought, "Now if this priest would pray for me, I would get all these things." But physical healing was not on my list.
The Lord, as though he had read my mind, said to me, "Dont look at him, look at me." I remember looking at the clock as I closed my eyes. It was 9:15 A.M., December 9, 1970. The only prayer I said was "Jesus, please help me." At that moment, I felt a hand touch my head and thought it was the priest who had come over to me. I opened my eyes and no one was there, but there was a power going through my body. Its
difficult to describe the feeling, but I often describe it this way: I felt like a banana being peeled.
I looked down. My fingers had been stiff, but not deformed like my feet. There had been sores on my elbows. I looked at myself. My fingers were limber, the sores were gone, and I could see that my feet, in sandals, were no longer deformed.
I jumped up screaming, "Jesus! Youre right here!"
When Jesus showed himself to Thomas, all Thomas could say was, "My Lord and my God!" When Jesus revealed himself to me that day, all I could say was "God! Youre right here!" It was an act of faith in him.
Since that day I have never had arthritis and have been completely free of pain. That was the miraculous healing, but my inner life saw the greatest change.
Through the charismatic renewal, I experienced the release of the Holy Spirit. I had a new vision of the church, as though I was seeing the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation through new glasses. I was seeing more clearly Gods great love for us and what he has given us. Yet I still had one fear: healing. I was afraid of the sensational. When I was healed I said to myself, "Im not going to tell anybody Ive been healed because they will automatically attach healing power to it. Theyll think Im a healer now. Besides its nobodys business. Why tell anybody?"
That was really protecting myself. I said, "I couldnt get involved in anything like that. I am a respectable member of a strict congregation."
I went from December of 1970 to June of 1971 having a marvelous experience of Pentecost. I would say, "Jesus, you couldnt expect me to do any more. Here I am teaching fortyseven first graders, going to prayer meetings, leading a youth group, and going to a prison to minister."
In the back of my mind I was really saying that I was going to play it safe. I wanted the respect and approval of people.
Then in June, the eve of Pentecost Sunday, in our convent in Tampa, I went into the chapel to make a Holy Hour for Pentecost. So, I sat there in our little oratory, saying "Jesus, here I am."
I had been in the chapel about five minutes when suddenly this extraordinary stillness descended on the chapel - it was like a cloud, like a fog. A voice said, "Briege." I turned to look toward the door because the voice was so clear it sounded as though someone had come into the chapel. No one was there, but I was very conscious that someone was present. The voice said to me as I turned back to the tabernacle, "You have my gift of healing. Go and use it."
As soon as I heard this, a burning sensation went through my body. I remember looking at my hands. It felt as though I had touched an electrical outlet. This burning sensation went through my hands and out of them. And then the stillness lifted.
I found myself kneeling, looking at the tabernacle, and saying, "Jesus, I dont want any gift of healing. Keep it for yourself." Then I made an act of contrition, not because I was sorry for what I had told Jesus, but for even thinking that Jesus would speak to me. Then I said to him, "Jesus, Ill make you a promise: Ill never tell anybody about this."
That Pentecost was very special to me since I had experienced the Holy Spirit and had learned to pray to him for all those gifts promised in Scripture and received in confirmation. All this was more important to me now.
I woke up on Pentecost morning and the voice was booming in my head, "You have my gift of healing: go and use it."
That day, at a prayer meeting at St. Josephs Hospital in Tampa, I was tempted to tell a sister about what had happened the night before. But as I began to speak to her, I went blank.
Although nobody knew about this, I was invited to pray with a child. Years later, I found out that the child had been healed through that prayer.
In July and August, 1971, I went to study in Los Angeles, California. I went to prayer meetings there, but I never told anyone about the gift of healing. The Lord himself confirmed my gift of healing through two prophetic experiences.
One evening at a prayer meeting in St. Angela Merici Parish, I found myself sitting beside an Episcopalian priest, an elderly man. At the end of the meeting we all joined hands in prayer. After the prayer, he turned to me and said, "Sister, Ive never spoken to a Roman Catholic nun before, but I have a message for you. As we were praying, I got this very strong feeling that you have the gift of healing-and you know you have it because the Lord spoke to you in your chapel in Florida."
I told the minister, "I really cant accept that. I belong to a strict congregation in Florida" and I went on to tell him all the reasons.
He just looked at me and said, "Tell me what happened in the chapel."
I said to myself, "How does he know? I never told one single person." I told him what had happened in the chapel, but said that I just couldnt accept it.
He looked at me and said, "Jesus will never force you. He reveals his will, but you are free to choose to follow him or not." Then he turned and walked away.
A few days later, in church after mass, I was talking with some people. A woman came up to me and said, "Sister, I dont know you, but when you went to communion, the Lord gave me a picture of you standing with a line of people coming to you. The Lord told me to tell you that you are being called into a great healing ministry."
In spite of the many people confirming what the Lord had said in our Tampa chapel, I still rejected his invitation to the ministry of healing.
GOING TO SEE THE "PROPHET"
During this time a group of ladies said they were going to see a "prophet." I got the notion that maybe he could help me. Maybe he would have a word for the future.
The prophet gave me a terrible, uneasy feeling. He looked at me and asked, "Are you married?" He must not know much about nuns, I thought. He asked me very unusual questions: I turned him off. He didnt tell me anything I didnt already know.
Two weeks later, a sister I knew came to town and I told her about my trip to the prophet. "Id like to see him," she said. I should have had sense enough not to go back and to discourage my friend from going. However, I thought that while it had done me no good, maybe he would do her some good. I went with her.
Again, when he saw me, he asked, "Are you married?" I told him he must not be much of a prophet, that he didnt know anything about Catholic nuns, that I had given my life to Jesus.
He said to me, "You need your head cut off," and he traced his finger along the back of my neck around to the front. I joked about it and said, "Well, theres not much in it, but Id have less without it."
He kept saying that I should not be a nun, that I should be doing something else with my young life. I kept arguing with him and he kept staring into my eyes. Within half an hour he had me in bits, completely confused. I was convinced people werent good, that I could not help them. I was doubting my vocation and even doubting the existence of God; I had never before doubted either. I was convinced in that short time that I should get out of religious life. I came out crying in a terrible desolation. What I didnt realize was that I was in a confrontation with Satan.
When I came back to my own convent, the sister who was with me said it could not be of God, that I was too upset. She said that if it were of God, I would feel a deep peace.
I didnt tell any of the sisters about my turmoil and desire to leave the religious life because I thought it would upset them too much. I was alone, with no one to minister to me.
That night in bed I had a terrible confrontation with Satan. I couldnt sleep. I felt something choking me where the prophet
. had touched my neck. I couldnt cry out for help. It was like a force trying to get me to deny Christ and stop serving him. I couldnt pray. It was a terrible experience. Finally, I must have been able to call on Jesus, for the choking stopped. The next day, the sisters noticed I had a terrible color. I told them simply that I wasnt feeling well.
That day, we left on a short holiday to San Francisco. On the way, I kept saying, "God, please help me." At least I was calling on Jesus, but in the back of my mind was a feeling that I had to get out of religious life.
When I got to San Francisco, I stayed in my room. I took the Bible and said, "Jesus, I know this is your living Word. Please, I beg you, speak to me. Tell me especially about my vocation. Is this where I am supposed to be?"
I opened the Scriptures and the words were magnified, as though someone had put a magnifying glass over them. It was the passage from St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, about committing yourself to live the single life for the Lord. "I should like you to be free of all worries. The unmarried man is busy with the Lords affairs, concerned with pleasing the Lord; but the married man is busy with this worlds demands and occupied with pleasing his wife. This means he is divided. The virgin-indeed, any unmarried woman-is concerned with things of the Lord, in pursuit of holiness in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has the cares of this world to absorb her and is concerned with pleasing her husband. I am going into this with you for your own good. I have no desire to place restrictions on you, but I do want to promote what is good, what will help you to devote yourselves entirely to the Lord."
As I looked at those words in Scripture a marvelous peace and joy came down on me. From that moment I knew that what I had experienced was a deception and an attack of Satan. After that I sensed, however, that there was something more the Lord wanted to teach me.
I went to a charismatic conference in Anaheim, where Ralph Wilkerson, a very popular evangelist, spoke. I went up to meet him and he gave me a prophecy. He said, "Sister, your hands are anointed for the work of God."
I said to him, "I dont want to know anything about prophecy."
He interrupted me and said, "Sister, you went to the false prophet." He said that the "prophet" had destroyed many of the people of God, and had led many people out of the church. That was the first time anyone told me the man was a false prophet.
At the same conference, I talked to a Catholic priest and told him my story. He said to me, "Sister Briege, you dont need me to tell you anything else. Youve had your answer in his living Word."
The Lord then led me back to the same Episcopalian priest who had told me I had the gift of healing.
At a prayer meeting in his home one night, I told him about this terrible experience. He said that someone had told him I was going to see the false prophet. He had wanted to stop me to protect me, but the Lord had told him not to intervene, that I had three lessons to learn from this, and that the Lord himself would protect me. He was led to pray for me while I went there and it was probably his prayers that saved me from the onslaught.
As he spoke to me, I realized I had indeed learned three lessons.
First, I should not have gone to a "prophet." I was trying to see the future. It was like fortune-telling, like seeking a false god. I was doing what God said not to do in the first commandment, "Thou shalt not put strange gods before me." My life must be centered in God; I must leave the future completely to him. He is the Way and I must abandon myself to him.
Second, I had to learn the difference between judging and discerning. The first time I went to the prophet, I knew something was wrong, but I thought I should not judge him. I had sensed the presence of evil, but I did not know what it was. I thought it might be my own attitude. I learned from this experience that I must pray for the gift of discernment.
Third, I learned that my vocation was not a gift from me to God, but that it was his gift to me. He had given me this vocation to liberate me for his gospel, not to bind me. I learned that I must get on my knees daily and thank the Lord for the gift.
A FOOL FOR JESUS
On the plane back to Florida, I began thinking that it could not be mere coincidence that so many unrelated people all thought I had the gift of healing. I was praying the breviary and read the passage about the calming of the storm (Lk 8:22-25). It was as though the Lord said to me, "You know, I have complete control over the elements. They obey me. But you have a free will. You can choose." The Lord showed me he would never force me.
Then he gave me an image of a house. I have a great imagination, which I believe God uses to speak to me. In this image of the house, I was inside and a man came knocking at the door. I opened the door and he seemed to be a very nice man so I asked him in.
I told him, "See all these rooms. Make yourself at home, go anywhere you like in my house." I followed the man as he walked through all the rooms. There were many of them and they were very pretty. Suddenly he came upon a locked door.
On the door in large dark type was PRIVATE PROPERTY-DO NOT ENTER. He turned to me, and as he turned, I recognized him to be Jesus. He asked me, "Briege, why cant I go in this room?"
I replied, "Come now, Jesus, look at all Ive given you. I want to keep a little something for myself."
I heard him say, in this image, "You know, Briege, if you do not open that door, you will never know what it means to be truly free."
I remember looking at the image and saying to myself, "Now what is in that room?
The Lord said, "Ill show you."
Inside that room was my reputation, what others thought of me. I didnt want Jesus in that room because I was preserving my good name and my reputation. I wanted to follow Jesus, but I wanted control of my life. I wasnt going to be a fool. Anything to do with the cross, with picking up my cross, that was out of the question.
I heard Jesus saying to me, "I thought you gave me your life."
Clearly the words of my vows came to me. I had promised to give my life to the Lord, for whatever he wanted from me in the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Clare. I saw myself kneeling before the mother general and the bishop and I heard myself saying those vows. At the same time, I heard Jesus say, as he pointed to the closed door, "On whose terms did you make that commitment?"
I realized that I had said, "Jesus, I love you and I give you my life-but on my terms." My religious life would never know fully the joy, the peace, the strength, and the courage-all that he wanted to give me -until I abandoned every part of my life and was willing to be a fool for him.
That day on the plane I said to him, "Jesus, you know I cant go back to Florida and tell people I have the gift of healing. Ill do the praying and you do the telling."
I came home to Florida, resumed teaching arid going to prayer meetings and doing my regular duties. After two weeks, I went to a prayer meeting and was asked to share on my trip to California. I wasnt going to talk about healing, but as I got up, a lady jumped up and said, "Excuse me, Sister, I want to say something. You have the gift of healing. You know about it, but you are more worried about the approval of people than you are about Gods will."
I looked at the woman and said, "Ive never seen you in my life before. Who are you?"
She was a freelance writer from Canada. She said that when she woke up one morning, an image of my face appeared on her wall and she said, "It was revealed to me that God had given you the gift of healing but that you were afraid of it."
She did not know where I was, but had been led by the Holy Spirit to the Franciscan Center in Tampa where this very prayer meeting was being held. She told one of the sisters at the center, "I came here looking for the young Irish nun with the gift of healing." The nun said, "There was no Irish sister here." But the woman insisted, "She will be here."
I could not remember ever having seen this woman. I looked at her and said, "How do you know Im Irish? Has the Holy Spirit told you?" I was making a joke of the whole thing.
She said, "I was in Orlando at a retreat you were on." She had been present when I was healed. She said to me, "You know God wants to use you in a ministry of healing." She kept talking, but I didnt hear anything else. I was in a panic and asking, "Oh, Lord! Whats going to happen to my first graders? What am I going to do?"
And just as all these thoughts were coming into my mind, the most beautiful calmness descended upon me and this inner voice said, "Briege, why are you so worried? Do you believe in your vow of obedience? You know, I didnt give you the gift of vows to bind you, but I gave you the gift ofvows to liberate you for my gospel. I was obedient to Mary and Joseph. I was obedient to my Father. What I ask of you is that you be obedient to your superiors and to those in authority in the church and I will work through them."
I said immediately, "Oh, thanks be to God, now its my superiors problem!" That shows how one can use the vow of obedience to suit oneself. I was saying, "Well, now, Ill make this up in such a way that my superior and the principal will have to say no to my involvement in healing."
I said to my principal, "Sister, theres a woman who wants to write an article about me on the gift of healing in a magazine."
She looked at me and said, "Goodness, Briege ! Have nothing to do with healing. Its too sensational."
That was exactly what I wanted to hear. "Dont worry, Sister. Ill not say a word about it to anybody."
I thought that if ever anybody asked me about the gift of healing, Id just say I was under the vow of obedience and my superior doesnt wish me to talk about it.
Three weeks went by and all things were going along wonderfully. I was pretending to worry about the welfare of the congregation and the church, but I was really worried about Briege McKenna, about being a fool for Jesus, about being called a "faith healer." I didnt consider that Jesus was a faith healer.
Two weeks later, I got an invitation to speak to a womens guild in a parish. I was going to talk on prayer. I thought I did a good job. I talked a full hour on prayer and never once
Two days later, I got a phone call from a woman who had been to the prayer meeting. She wanted to talk to me about healing. I was surprised because I had not mentioned healing, but I went to see her anyway. The woman told me her life story. It was very tragic. She had decided to kill herself, but circumstances would not permit it. Then she heard about my talk and became curious. When she saw and heard me, she found nothing right with me. She thought I was too young to know anything about prayer. She told me she got up and walked out. She didnt believe one word I was saying.
When she went home, she began again to contemplate suicide. That night she saw me walk into her room and stand beside her bed. My reaction was, "I didnt come to see you, I was at home in bed."
"Oh, no," she said, "you were here in my room last night. And I couldnt get rid of you." Apparently, the Lord used an image of me to reach this poor woman.
She told me that I said to her, "Why do you not believe in Jesus?" She said that whether her eyes were opened or closed she could see me and if she turned away from me there I was on the other side of the bed.
As she told me this, I thought, "Oh, Jesus, use me all you want during the day, but dont have me roaming through homes in the middle of the night."
And I heard Jesus say to me, "But I thought you said that if Id do the telling youd do the praying."
This woman had been in complete despair. Her face lit up and she said, "Do you think its possible that God could help me?"
A short time later I got the flu. This same woman phoned me. She told me to put my trust in God, that he would take care of me. Only two weeks earlier, she had been contemplating suicide, and now she was ministering to me!
The Lord had really touched her life. She was completely converted, and came back into the Catholic church.
It was at that time that I said to myself, "Briege, mother superior or no mother superior, what you have to do is seek the Lord and do his will."
So, I went off to a priest, a good intellectual Scripture scholar. I didnt want to go to someone in the charismatic renewal for fear they would be too enthusiastic and would simply say something like, "Well, just follow the leading of the Spirit."
When I had told this priest my story, he said to me, "You know, if I was God Id tell you to get lost. How many more times do you want Jesus to reveal his will? The only thing the Lord needs and asks of you is that just like Mary you say yes. God respects his children and he will only ask you to do his will. You have no power, so it has nothing to do with what you can do. What God is asking of you is whether you are willing to say yes and let him use you as his instrument."
I said, "But Father, how can I know when to pray? I cant just go up to someone who is sick and tell them I can pray for them for physical healing."
He smiled at me and said, "Sister, you dont have to tell people. If Jesus called you to this ministry of healing, then he will lead you to people and he will lead them to you. But, lets get this straight. Physical healing is only one facet of healing. There also are healings of emotions and memories. But the greatest healing is spiritual healing."
Then he took my hand and said, "Sister, go home to your community and live your community life. Do what youre called to do as a sister of St. Clare and if this call is from Jesus, he will open up the way."
For the first six months after that, I was the skeptic. People were healed, but I still couldnt believe Jesus would work through me. I thought that I would have to be completely changed and perfect before he would use me. But the Lord still had more to teach me. I had to learn about what he considered the most serious sickness of all.
This lady stood up at a prayer meeting and said she wanted prayer for a woman who was both blind and paralyzed. My immediate reaction was, "Blind and paralyzed? Thats too big a job for me, Lord." I was only starting out. I still didnt realize I was only the instrument. I felt the Lord saying I should go over to pray with the sick lady. I did.
When I went to see this woman I realized that sickness can do two things. It can make you a saint or you can become very bitter, depending on your attitude and disposition to prayer.
When I went in, this woman was very angry and had given up on God. When I put my hand on her, I said a little prayer with her and I felt the sensation of pins and needles, exactly as I had in the chapel when I had been given the gift of healing.
As I was praying, I was saying to myself, "Now Briege, dont go telling this woman shell be healed. You know this is all psychological and shell get disappointed. These tinglings in your hands are just your imagination."
I said the prayer with her, which at the time I thought was a harmless prayer and couldnt do much.
A few days later she sent for me. She said that she had been very skeptical of me. No nun had ever prayed like this and when I put my hands on her paralyzed arm, she thought I had stuck pins in her to make a good impression. She had felt something go through her arms. In the middle of the night, she got the power back into her arms. A few days later, she got her sight.
The womans spiritual attitude totally changed. The Lord taught me that the inner healing, spiritual healing, was more important. If the spirit isnt healed, if a person is not brought closer to Jesus, whats the point? Its like the man who was lowered through the roof so Jesus could heal him (Mk 2:1-12). Jesus first said, "Your sins are forgiven." Then he healed him physically. It is more important to be healed of sin. That is the greatest sickness of all.
The next summer, 1972, I went to Ireland. The news about my ministry had reached there, although I never talked about the gift of healing, because I felt that what I did counted, not what I said. The father of a friend came up to me and said, "I dont believe in all that healing business, but a friend of mine is in the hospital and a prayer wouldnt hurt."
So I went to the hospital and prayed for a woman who was dying of cancer. The doctors had said there was no hope. On my way out, I noticed this poor man suffering from shingles and I prayed with him. The woman, a few days later, went home from the hospital in perfect health. When they came to examine her again, they could find nothing wrong with her. And the man with the shingles was healed, too.
The town was in an uproar looking for the healing nun. People were phoning and coming to see me. Every time they saw a nun in a brown habit, they would run after her.
My father said, "You know, you pray enough in America. I thought you were here on holiday." People were shouting and whistling at my father as he worked in the fields, asking him where they could find Sister Briege. He said to me, "My, Briege, you have a lot of friends."
I spent a lot of time with my Auntie Lizzie, and sometimes there were as many as sixty cars parked outside her house. When I was home she couldnt get any work done with all those people coming around looking for me and telling her all their sicknesses. Auntie Lizzie would often say, "Me heads busting from all these sicknesses."
Shortly after the healing of the woman with cancer and the man with shingles, I was praying in the cathedral in Newry. I had many concerns: was I calling attention to myself, with all those people talking about me an