Baltimore Archdiocese investigates possible miracle in Seelos cause
Published: May 21, 2009
BALTIMORE (CNS) -- Go home and prepare to die. That's what Mary Ellen Heibel's doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington told her May 11, 2004, after they discovered that the cancer that had attacked Heibel's esophagus in 2003 and then a lymph node later that year had spread throughout her body. Given about six months, the longtime parishioner of St. Mary in Annapolis underwent a new form of chemotherapy at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore as a palliative treatment to extend her life. But doctors warned it would only postpone the inevitable. At the suggestion of a Pittsburgh priest, Heibel began praying a novena in 2005 to Blessed Francis X. Seelos, a 19th-century Redemptorist pastor of her parish who died of yellow fever in 1867 in New Orleans. One week after she began the novena at her parish, Heibel's cancer disappeared. When Dr. Michael Gibson, her doctor at Hopkins, called with the news, Heibel couldn't believe it. Told by doctors that the unexplained healing could not be the result of chemotherapy, Heibel is convinced that Blessed Seelos interceded on her behalf. "I know this had to be a miracle," she told The Catholic Review, newspaper of the Baltimore Archdiocese. Archdiocesan officials are currently investigating whether Heibel might just be right.
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