Mary in History: Help of Christians

January 12-13, 1866 – Czech Republic

For more than a decade, Magdalena Kade suffered from very poor health. At age 30, her condition took a turn for the worse such that her two physicians thought she would soon die and her priest gave her the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick with Last Rites. One Friday night, while Magdalena lay in bed attended to by Veronika Kindermannová, her friend from next door, “All of a sudden the room became luminous, full of more light than daytime.” As Magdalena would later testify in the bishop’s investigation, “I was frightened. I elbowed Veronika, saying to her: ‘Veronika, wake up, do you not see this glow?’ Veronika said: ‘But I do not see anything.’ In front of my bed was a figure that emanated a very white light, with a golden crown on its head. I quickly thought it was the Mother of God. I united my hands in prayer and began to pray: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit exults in God, my Savior.‘ [Mary spoke these words at the Visitation.] Having said this, I heard a voice – but an unusual voice, different from that of people: ‘My child, from this moment on you will be healed.’ And in that moment the person disappeared and I no longer felt any pain.

That night, Magdalena rose from her bed to the great joy of her family and on Saturday morning she walked to the local bakery to buy bread. When the townspeople of Filipov saw her and asked how she was well, she replied, “Last night I saw the Virgin Mary and she told me I would be healed. And I am healed. Nothing more and nothing less happened.” Magdalena would go on to retell her story many times to inquirers and the room where she was healed became a place of pilgrimage. After her bishop’s investigation affirmed the supernatural character of Magdalena’s cure, a church was built on the site. In 1885, Pope Leo XIII elevated it to a minor basilica and officially consecrated and dedicated it to “Mary, Help of Christians.” Like Mary before her, Magdalena could rejoice that “the Almighty has done great things for me” and, by plainly sharing her firsthand experience, she led others to deeper faith in Christ. Let us likewise share the stories our own miraculous, God-touched moments with family, friends, and neighbors as well.

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