Every month, thousands of people come, from all over the world, to this ordinary suburban house in the middle of America, in search of a miracle.
They have heard stories of statues in the house weeping oil and bleeding real human blood. They believe these are signs of a powerful religious presence. They have been told that this is a place where people come to be cured of cancers and other life-threatening illnesses and that the provider of these miracles is a modern-day faith healer and one of the most vivid embodiments of God in recent memory.
Indeed, there have been some 150 case of miracle healings in the last 19 years, as well as thousand more that are unconfirmed.
The extraordinary thing is that all of these people believe that the cure they are seeking rests in the hands of a young woman who has been in a coma for nineteen years. This is Audrey Marie Santo and many believe that a brief five minute blessing in her presence can offer them the miracle cure that conventional medicine is unable to provide.
On the 9th of August 1987, Linda Santo’s three year old daughter was playing in the back yard of their home in Worcester, Massachusetts. Just after 3PM, Linda discovered Audrey unconscious in the swimming pool. The little girl was rushed to hospital, but fell into a deep coma and never regained consciousness.
Audrey was diagnosed with akinetic mutism. Her body functions enough to keep her alive but she doesn’t respond to any external stimuli and her brain is irreversibly damaged. The doctors recommended that she should be interned in a nursing home, where she wasn’t expected to live for more than a few weeks.
Despite the seriousness of the situation, Linda devotes het life to caring for Audrey herself, and returned to the family home.
Sustained by her Catholic faith, she searched for other, less scientific, answers to her daughter’s critical illness. A search which took her 4,000 miles away to the religious shrine of Medjugorje where she hoped she would find a miracle cure for Audrey.
The trip would turn out to be a defining moment for both Linda and her daughter, for it was at the shrine of Medjugorje that Audrey is believed to have received a message from the Virgin Mary. Apparently, Audrey became animated, she began moving, she appeared to be trying to speak, but the moment passed.
This bizarre incident would, seemingly, provide the catalyst for a series of remarkable events. Linda believes that her daughters improvement and subsequent heart attack was a sign from God. A choice of her own life or a life helping others. She chose to become, what the Catholic Church refer to as, a victim soul.
So marked the beginning of a story that would see Audrey Marie Santo become one of the most famous miracle workers in the world.
Dr John W. Harding, the family physician, observed “It is very special that she is now 21 years old. She has gone 18 years without a bedsore, She has health problems, being on a ventilator most of the time and having to receive G-tube feeding. She can’t swallow her own saliva so relies on continuous suction. She has developed diabetes and has severe scoliosis which has compressed one lung. With all of this, it’s a bit of a miracle she is here at all”.
CREDITS: All of the above information came from the UK Channel 5 “Extraordinary People” series of television documentaries.
In God’s Hands: The Miraculous Story of Audrey Santo – Thomas W. Petrisko
Silent Soul – Antonio Felix