‘Miracle woman’ skips Rome, Cebu doctor attending rites

Posted on October 20, 2012

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People will be keeping an eye out tomorrow in Rome for the woman who was miraculously revived from a coma through the intercession of Visayan martyr Pedro Calungsod.

But she won’t be attending.

The woman whose name has been kept under wraps for months was not well enough to make the long travel.

She’ll have “representatives” there when Calungsod will be elevated to sainthood by Pope Benedict XVI, said Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Rico Lucena in Rome.

Until the last minute, Vidal would not identify the woman, who is officially described in a primer of the Cebu Archidocese as someone from the Visyayas who underwent heart surgery in 2003 and fell into a coma in a hospital in Cebu City. Instead of dying due to loss of oxygen to the brain or ending up in a vegetative state, the woman “rapidly recovered” within days.

Her Cebu-based doctor, who was the one who pleaded with Calungsod to peform a miracle and save her life, is already in Rome to attend the canonization.

Again, out of respect for the privacy of both doctor and patient, their names have not been mentioned — yet.

In the Pope’s official declaration of the sainthood of Calungsod tomorrow, he is expected to announce the circumstances of the teenage martyr’s heroism and proof of the miracle verified by the Vatican.

By tradition, recipients of miracles are at the canonization ceremony and usually carry relics of the saints to present them to the Pope.

Only “first class relics” like part of the saint’s body like a bone or lock of hair are presented but Calungsod, whose body was thrown into the sea in Guam in 1672, left nothing behind.

“As far as we are concerned, Calungsod has no first class relic,” Fr. Mhaur Balili, chairman of the litrugical committee for the Calungsod canonization, told Cebu Daily News over the phone.

Only stones and peddles from Tomhom Beach in Guam where he was killed by angry Chamorro natives are kept as relics in the altar of the Calungsod Shrine in Cebu City.

The “miracle woman” whose recovery from a coma was verified by Vatican physcians as a supernatural event was 49 years old when Calungsod’s divine intervention took place, according to a catechism document prepared by Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson, the vice postulator of the cause of sainthood of Calungsod.

In a September, Leyson told a press conference that the woman was suffering from “severe asthma” which, along with her heart condition, made it unlikely that she could bear the rigors of over 20 hours of air travel to Rome aside from walking long distances.

He said they had to wait for a medical clearance from her doctor if she was to travel.

Leyson said the Church wanted to keep the identity of the woman confidential until the last day to avoid undue sensationailsm.

“It’s not about the person but what happened ,” he said.

Leyson said it was natural to feel “curious” about the case but said this should not distract one from the central focus of the canonization, which is God’s love, the call to lead holy lives and the sacrifice of Calungsod who died for his faith.

Calungsod was believed to be 17 years old when he joined a Jesuit mission to the Ladrones Islands, now known as Guam, in 1668.

On April 2, 1672, the boy and Fr. Diego de San Vitores, whom he served as lay catechist and helper, were speared and hacked dead by two angry villagers in Tumhon where the priest and Pedro were baptising a baby. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter with Eileen G. Mangubat

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