In a recent blog, I referred you, dear Reader, to the Website http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/. Louise, of Chicken Voluntary fame commented “Actually, God did heal an amputee. But I’ll have to go find the info.”
Well, she is right, and I have found the info. I could only vaguely remember reading it somewhere, but thought that perhaps I had dreamt it. But no, I did not dream it, I read it in that repostitory of all things Vaticano, Word from Rome by John L. Allen. Jnr back in June 2004, and here is the story:
Briefly, the story holds that in July 1637, a young peasant from Aragon, Miguel Juan Pellicer, was working as a farmhand at his uncle’s house when he fell off a mule and a cart ran over his right leg, fracturing it under the knee. Eventually the leg was amputated. Pellicer became a beggar in front of the huge cathedral of the Virgin of Pilar, leaning on a wooden leg.
In March 1640, Pellicer went home to his village. On the evening of March 29, he went to bed around 9 p.m. (wildly early by Spanish standards, as I discovered on this trip). His mother went in to check on him between 10:30 and 11:00, and was startled to see not one foot sticking out from under the covers, but two. Two years and five months since the amputation, Pellicer, so the story goes, had an intact right leg.
As Messori notes, royal notaries arrived two days later to take down depositions about what had happened. These were officials of the crown, not clergy, and the records they created still exist.
One can of course make of this whatever one likes (Messori, for his part, believes that Calanda is a “great miracle” that almost all by itself demonstrates the authenticity of Christian claims about the miraculous).
What I make of it is that you should never say “never” when it comes to miracles. I guess that is what a miracle is: something that would “never” happen (as they say on the whywontgodhealamputees website):
No matter how many people pray. No matter how sincere those people are. No matter how much they believe. No matter how devout and deserving the recipient. Nothing will happen. The legs will not regenerate. Prayer does not restore the severed limbs of amputees. You can electronically search through all the medical journals ever written — there is no documented case of an amputated leg being restored spontaneously.
Well, perhaps just one. Is that enough?