Friday, 1 October 2010
He spent most of his time in a wheelchair and needed constant attention from his parents and his two older sisters.
Father Ignatius knew the family well and visited them about once a week. They were rather poor, not unusual in this miserable desolate town with high unemployment and business closures.
The kindly priest often gave them some money to help supplement the family budget; although he pretended it was to pay his share of the evening meals he sometimes shared with them.
They usually prayed the Rosary as a family before their meals with the priest; and Sebastian’s mother would always dream that one day she’d be able to save enough money to take Sebastian to Lourdes so that Our Lady would heal him.
Her husband, John was more skeptical and felt somehow that his son was destined do be ill. Besides, there was no chance that they’d ever have any money anyway … so what’s the use of dreaming.
One summer the St Vincent de Paul Group in church organized a coach tour to Lourdes. They would travel South to the coast and take the ferry across to France.
Father Ignatius managed to find enough funds to take with them Sebastian, his parents and his sisters.
The coach was full to capacity and Father Ignatius had led prayers that Our Lady would listen to all intentions and bring them to Jesus our Healer of body and soul.
The tour was very successful. Sebastian had seemed more vibrant and lively than at any time before. He certainly enjoyed the many visits to Lourdes and the surrounding places to visit; and the whole family were greatly enriched by the kindness, friendship and fellowship of everyone on that coach.
Some may think that there was no miracle on that coach or for Sebastian and his family at Lourdes.
But they would be wrong.
That trip to visit the Holy Shrine strengthened Sebastian’s father’s Faith. He learnt that there is hope in dreaming. The family did go to Lourdes and it did benefit Sebastian and his sisters no end.
Sebastian’s mother was greatly enriched by the journey and the time spent praying to Our Lady. As did her two daughters who felt that much closer to their younger brother in a wheelchair.
Sebastian’s Father made a new acquaintance on the coach trip with the manager at a local factory. He managed to get a job at the factory and now no longer relies on donations from Father Ignatius to feed his family.
Sebastian’s mother also found a job working part-time three days a week at the local bakery. All because she happened to sit next to the church organist on the coach and discovered in conversation that she works at the bakery Personnel Department.
Somehow, purely by accident, they met a specialist doctor staying at the same hostel in France as the coach travelers. Father Ignatius had a few gentle words with him and Sebastian is scheduled to travel to a London hospital for further tests, and hopefully further treatment to help him live a better more comfortable life.
No … there was no miracle at Lourdes for those travelers from St Vincent Church. There were several.