Notorious Historic Healings, Healers and Miracles

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Jesus is probably one of the most globally known healers.  Jesus is considered as the messiah in the Qur’an as well as the Bible however he does not fit the criteria of the messiah in Judaism.  Jesus also taught his disciples the skills of healing to work alongside him.  Jesus was a truly inspirational teacher and philosopher.  If you have not read his teachings from the New Testament for while…. take a moment.

The Jansenist Miracles

This is one of the most remarkable displays of miraculous events ever recorded and took place in Paris in the first half of the eighteenth century.  The Jansenists were puritanical Dutch-influenced Catholics founded in the early seventeenth century and at odds with both the Roman Catholic Church and the French monarchy.  Many of their beliefs diverged sharply with standard church doctrine but it was a popular movement and quickly gained followers.  Both the church and the monarch, King Louis XV, were constantly maneuvering to undermine the movement’s power.  One obstacle was that Jansenist leaders seemed especially skilled at performing miraculous healings.   It was on May 1, 1727 at the height of the power struggle that Francois de Paris died and was interred in the parish cemetery of Saint-Médard, Paris.

Because of the abbé’s saintly reputation worshippers began to gather at his tomb, and from the beginning a host of miraculous healings were reported.  The ailments cured included cancerous tumors, paralysis, deafness, arthritis, rheumatism, ulcerous sores, persistent fevers, prolonged hemorrhaging, and blindness.  But this was not all.  The mourners also started experiencing strange involuntary spasms or convulsions and to undergo the most amazing contortions of their limbs.  These seizures quickly proved contagious, spreading like a bush fire until the streets were packed with men, women and children, all twisting and writhing as if caught up in a surreal enchantment.  The most phenomenal of their talents was during this fitful and trancelike state.  They had the ability to endure without harm an almost unimaginable variety of physical tortures.  These included beatings, blows from both heavy and sharp objects, and strangulation – all with no sign of injury, or even the slightest trace of wounds or bruises.   Most mind-blowing of all, they could not even be cut or punctured with knives, swords or hatchets!  Some became clairvoyant and were able to “discern hidden things.”  Others could read even when their eyes were closed and tightly bandaged, and instances of levitation were reported.  One of the levitators, an abbé named Bercherand from Montpellier, was so “forcibly lifted into the air” during his convulsions that even when witnesses tried to hold him down they could not succeed in keeping him from rising up off the ground.

What makes these miraculous events so unique is that they were witnessed by literally thousands of observers and was by no means short lived.   The cemetery and streets surrounding it were crowded day and night for years and even two decades later miracles were still being reported.  In 1733 it was noted in the public records that over 3’000 volunteers were needed simply to assist the convulsionaries and make sure, for example, that the female participates did not become immodestly exposed during their seizures.  They became an international cause for célèbre, and thousands flocked to see them, including individuals from all social strata and officials from every educational, religious, and governmental institution imaginable; numerous accounts, both official and unofficial of the miracles witnessed are recorded in the documents of the time, including the Roman Catholic Church who had had a vested interest in refuting the Jansenist miracles but they still went away confirming them. 

The Roman Catholic Church later remedied this embarrassing state of affairs by conceding that the miracles existed but were the work of the devil, hence proving that the Jansenists were depraved!!

One investigator, a member of the Paris Parliament named Louis-Basile Carre de Mongeron, witnessed enough miracles to fill four thick volumes on the subject, which he published in 1737 under the title “La Verité des Miracles”.  The niece of the mathematician and philosopher Pascal succeeded in having a severe ulcer in her eye vanish within hours.  When King Louis XV tried unsuccessfully to stop the convulsionaires by closing the cemetery of Saint Médard, Voltaire quipped “God was forbidden, by order of the King, to work any miracles there.”  The Scottish Philosopher David Hume wrote in his “Philosophical Essays” that “There surely never was so great a number of miracles ascribed to one person as those which were lately said to have been wrought in France upon the tomb of Abbé Paris. Many of the miracles were immediately proved upon the spot, before judges of unquestioned credit and distinction, in a learned age, and on the most eminent theatre that is now in the world.”