Catholic Church in Ireland Officially Recognizes Miracle at Marian Shrine

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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  September 5, 2019   

'A special gift to let people know that Jesus and Mary are there'

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DUBLIN (ChurchMilitant.com) - An Irish bishop has approved a miraculous cure that occurred in 1989 at the Knock shrine in Ireland. 

Bishop Francis Duffy of the diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois announced to a large congregation at the Knock shrine Sunday that the Church has officially recognized the miraculous healing of Marion Carroll in 1989 at the Marian shrine in Knock.

In attendance during the announcement were Marion Carroll, her husband (Jimmy), their two children and five grandchildren. 

Carroll was taken to the Knock shrine on a stretcher since she was entirely paralyzed from the disease at the time.
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Priest blessing people with a monstrance

Carroll had suffered from multiple sclerosis, a potentially disabling disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system) and for which there is currently no medical cure. Treatment for the disease focuses on managing symptoms and speeding recovery from attacks.

In September 1989, Carroll was taken to the Knock shrine on a stretcher since she was entirely paralyzed from the disease at the time.

"I was doubly incontinent, I was blind in one eye and had very little sight in the other eye. I couldn't eat right, I couldn't talk right, and I had epilepsy," she said.

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Statue of Our Lady of Knock

Carroll recalled that she felt death was approaching due to ancillary complications such as constant kidney infections. 

During the blessing of the sick, Carroll was laying on her stretcher when Bp. Colm O'Reilly (bishop of Ardagh from 1983–2013) blessed her with the monstrance, the transparent receptacle in which the consecrated Host is exposed for adoration.

"When he blessed me, I got this beautiful feeling — it was a magnificent feeling — and then the whispering breeze telling me that if the stretcher was opened that I could get up and walk," said Carroll, recounting the miracle. 


Carroll was taken to St. John's Rest and Care Centre in Knock after receiving the blessing from Bp. O'Reilly.

She requested that the stretcher be opened. The nurse on duty obliged the request to pacify Carroll; however, once the stretcher was opened, Carroll moved her legs after years of paralysis. 

"I stood up straight and didn't even feel stiff," she recounted.

She was able to speak perfectly and use her arms once again.

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Bp. Francis Duffy (courtesy of John McElroy)

Archbishop Michael Neary of the archdiocese of Tuam, Ireland, the archdiocese in which the Knock shrine is located, explained to the congregation Sunday one of the reasons this miracle took 30 years to approve: "In these situations, the Church must always be very cautious."

Father Richard Gibbons, rector of the Knock shrine, told Catholic News Service that the announcement Sunday occurred "after many years of investigation by a medical committee set up by Knock shrine to examine the case."

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Bp. Michael Neary

Dr. Diarmuid Murray heads that committee. He told RTÉ News that the diocese adopted a wait-and-see attitude since a precise diagnosis of her condition did not exist at the time.

In January, Carroll was present for a meeting on her case with Bp. Duffy of the diocese of Ardagh (Carroll's home diocese), Bp. Neary of the archdiocese of Tuam and Dr. Murray, who read a letter from a consultant gastroenterologist who said that Carroll's dramatic improvement "from the time of her visit to Knock is unexplained," adding: "My feeling is that her improvement is very unlikely to be explained by conventional medical wisdom." 

This is a special gift to let people know that Jesus and Mary are there.
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Marion Carroll Sept. 2

This is the first officially recognized miracle that occurred at the shrine since August 1879 when 15 people witnessed an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the location.

Reflecting on the miraculous healing received, Carroll said: "My healing in Knock does not belong to me. This is a special gift to let people know that Jesus and Mary are there."

Church Militant reached out to the diocese of Ardagh and the Knock shrine for comment but received no response as of press time. 

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