"If someone does not know God, introduce them to Avery Gerleman."

That’s the astonishing statement of the doctor who treated a young girl whose extraordinary recovery from a deadly auto-immune disorder is now being investigated as a miracle — one that could nudge the fabled Fr. Emil Kapaun closer to sainthood.

An excerpt:

On Dec. 4, as the hospital staff put Avery through physical therapy that caused her almost torturous pain, she stood up, a sight that no doctor had dared hope for.

By that time, because of the e-mails the Gerlemans were getting, they knew that people and prayer chains all over the world were praying for her; in Italy, in England, and other places far and wide.

People in many churches in Wichita were praying to Kapaun and Jesus and many of the saints. Avery’s Wichita Attack soccer team, including the Protestant players, were saying rosaries for her with their Catholic teammates.

Other parents in Wesley Medical Center’s pediatric intensive care unit, struggling to help keep their own children alive, were praying for Avery.

Every day now she became more awake and aware, and Smith and Hilgenfeld and other doctors kept finding surprises.

Later, after they scanned her lungs and kidneys, they saw what seemed impossible: no scarring, not much tissue damage. It was like peering into a building after it burned and seeing no burn marks on the walls. It did not make sense.

Her lungs had been so destroyed that Smith had told the parents that Avery, if she survived, would have to be on oxygen for the rest of her life.

But six months after Avery walked out of Wesley, she was playing competitive soccer again.

Was it a miracle?

“I don’t know, but I think so,” Avery said. “I think it was, but I struggle with what I think about.

“It seems weird: Why would God choose me?”

Her parents told her that perhaps her story was meant to show skeptics about God’s glory.

But after thinking about her survival for a long time, Avery, now 17, told her parents this year, with one year to go in high school, that she wanted to turn the meaning of her survival into something more tangible.

She said she would become a doctor or a nurse, and spend the rest of her life helping the sick.

It’s a remarkable story.  Read the rest.

And for more on Fr. Kapaun, check out this website.

Comments

  1. I love heartwarming stories to balance the others we hear daily. Thanks for sharing.

  2. The article was very inspiring, and even brought tears to my own eyes. What bothered me was some of the comments. It seems like when there are articles that say something good and positive about religious matters or about Catholics, some intolerant person or persons enter prejudiced, bigoted comments. When I see that I don’t forward the article to my friends. It would be like spreading hate.

  3. Regina Faighes says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of healing, hope, and miracles! It just proves that even in this modern era, there are things that even science and medicine cannot explain. And Avery was healed by the Physician of Our Souls.

  4. A wonderful story indeed. But as far as the miracle by anyone to qualify for blessed and/or sainthood, all prayer must be directed to this same person only not to many rosaries, Jesusand many saints, etc”. How else can it be proven that one particular person deserves sainthood? Sorry but is seems that Fr. Kapaun will have to wait for someone else to experience a “miracle” in his name.

  5. Paul Rimmer says:

    Sam,

    It seems that no one in the modern world would become a saint at all.

    After all, if the miracle must be the result of praying to the potential saint alone, then if the person who experienced the miracle went to mass, how would we know if the mass didn’t heal him?

    Also, how would we ever know someone wasn’t secretly praying rosaries for everyone in the world, and that his or her prayers weren’t the cause of all modern miracles?

  6. Beautiful! Thank you for posting this.

  7. Paul Rimmer: Sorry that you don’t agree but that IS the rule for determining whether a certain person is responsible for the miracle, i.e, is actually in heaven. There must be clear evidence that only a certain person is evoked to bring about the “miracle” desired and not myriads. As to “secret” praying of everyone in the world, how would they know who needs the “miracle”? Everyone in the world, certainly doesn’t know every person in need of one or on what basis they need it.

    So your premise can’t be sustained.

  8. The canonization folks look at a lot of different factors. There are generally signs that point to whether a specific possible saint is the one God is showing favor to.

    So, yes, you should try to be specific if you’re trying to help out on beatification/canonization miracles. But there doesn’t have to be a hermetic seal around a verifiable miracle. Otherwise, you’d never be able to go to Mass while asking for a miracle-verifiable intercession; and clearly, that’s not the Church’s intention!

  9. Steve Schlicht says:

    This story suggests that folks should go to the doctor, get great intensive care and treatment for severe illnesses by specially trained people, let the individual human body heal over time, pray to a dead priest and God will intervene on your behalf.

    But, *just* pray to a dead priest and what is the outcome?

    What of all of the other little children of assorted families with diligent faith praying for divine intervention who lose their noble battle with cancer, torturous birth defects or who don’t make it through the ravaging effects of tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes?

    Why aren’t the surviving parents of those beautiful children being interviewed and broadcast to the media?

    Which Vatican priest is keeping up with the failures?

    Just because something cannot be fully explained (and, in this case, medical treatment seemed to do exactly what it was applied to do), does not mean that some deceased priest from 1951 was able to get summoned up by incantations and prayers to medically intervene in order to have his memory beatified and canonized as a saint.

    When the very doctor in this case promotes the idea that a being beyond space and time intervened on Avery’s behalf when the results happen to come out positive, without showing his work that his divine intervention theory is actually responsible, it is doubtful that real and rational objectivity is being applied.

  10. An inspirational story, there are people who don’t want to believe, but the case is that her two doctors who were specialists, and believers in fact over religion, were protestant and even they believe it’s a miracle, her organs were like brand new after the recovery which has no plausable scientific explanation. What some people don’t understand is that the biggest skeptics of miracles is the Vatican itself, they send special investigators nicknamed the devil’s advocates to determine if it really a miracle or a fraud. In the case of Avery, the Vatican never found out for 2 years because the family was too humble to announce the miracle, believing in the gospel’s message of humility. This case is one of the strongest pieces of proof of a miracle in our times, and all skeptics should pretty much give up trying to discount how the body’s immune system would attack itself, and repair itself without level any signs of damage whatsoever. It can’t be explained, this is a real miracle.

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