Development in the Seelos Canonization Cause
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"In Annapolis, a miracle worthy of sainthood?" by Arthur Hirsch
Baltimore Archdiocese investigates possible miracle in Seelos cause
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.
Photos from May 19, 2009 Mass for Seelos Inquiry into Canonization Cause, May (link to external website)
Mary Ellen Heibel (center), with husband and daughter at May 19, 2009 Mass in Baltimore Basilica
Photo: Sara Zervos