Miracle of the Sacred Heart
In March 1991, Share International reported on an incident at San José Catholic Church in Austin, Texas. On 11 January, a parishioner of the church was praying in his home before a picture of the Sacred Heart when blood appeared on the picture. The bleeding occurred again in the presence of seven family members, two of whom reported having visions of war. (Later that same day President Bush approved the use of force in the Middle East.) The family brought the picture to the church where it was publicly displayed. Many of those viewing it received healings, messages, or visions.
On 19 January the
diocesan bishop requested the picture be removed for investigation -
this being standard procedure in occurrences of this kind.
spiritual life at San José continued to unfold. For many years,
a Thursday night healing service, alive with mariachi music and the
spirit of renewal, has been held at the church. So many of the parishioners
have received messages, visions, and healings that such phenomena are
considered "normal." They are readily embraced and openly
Late in July, a
parishioner received a message from Mary that she would appear on 15
August . She requested that the rosary be prayed at San José
between 1.00 and 3.00 pm and promised that something beautiful would
be seen in the sky. During the rosary several people reported having
visions of Mary. Healings were also reported. After the rosary, the
500-600 people gathered outside to look for the promised sign. About
4.15 the viewers reported that the sun began to spin. This continued
for 10-15 minutes. Those present were able to view the sun directly
without hurting their eyes. Most people in the crowd were witnesses
to this event.
On 16 August, the
picture was returned to the parish with the following statement, "An
investigation conducted by the diocese of Austin concluded that divine
intervention could not be verified in regard to the picture."
A small, portable
building has been erected and the picture is available for viewing every
day. In addition, shortly after the picture was removed, construction
began on a 24-hour adoration chapel (already in the planning stages).
Called the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, messages and miracles regularly
occur here as well. In addition to the usual Sunday church services,
the spiritual life of San José is rendered vibrant and meaningful
in a deeply personal way by the experiences gained in the presence of
the picture, the adoration chapel, and the healing services.
Father Fred Underwood
has been the pastor of San José since 1982. We spoke of these
events in his modest office in Austin.
for me the work that you do at San José.
We are now beginning
to have busloads of people making pilgrimages to the church, and to
make the day more meaningful we take them through a conversion experience.
By a conversion experience I mean a greater turning to Jesus, so that
we are not just nominal Christians, but are striving daily for a closer
and greater openness to the Holy Spirit. We experience the same power
that the early Christians experienced after Pentecost.
When the picture
was first displayed in January, a lady who was five months pregnant
came to pray. Her doctor had found that the baby had a bad heart and
both he and her husband wanted her to have an abortion. Even more disturbing
was that the baby had not moved for several days. The picture was placed
on her womb and the baby immediately started kicking. In May the mother
gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She says, "I call him my Sacred
Heart miracle baby. People remark that there's something special about
David. He radiates so much love and joy."
a Baptist with no knowledge of Catholicism, had been suffering for years
from anorexia and severe depression. She came to the Blessed Sacrament
Chapel after being declared incurable by a local hospital treatment
program. Kneeling down, she cried her heart out, then sat down in the
front pew. Soon she felt a hand go inside her chest. Frightened, she
started to get up, but a hand pushed her back in the pew and a voice
said, "Be at peace. I am Jesus. Be at peace." Then He reached
inside her chest and grabbed her heart. She could feel all 10 fingers
massaging her heart, and when He was finished, the depression and anorexia
were gone. Her psychiatrist has pronounced her cured and she is now
a powerful worker in the church.
One young man was
watching a football game and the Lord said to him, "Pray."
So the guy figured he could have the best of both worlds and, kneeling
in front of his television, began to pray while still watching the game.
The Lord said, "No, no, I said pray." So the young man drove
to the church, and as soon as he got on the grounds the Lord took over
the steering wheel and guided him to the little building. He had a very
deep conversion and now works with the youth group at the church.
About half of the
people who view the picture have an experience known as "resting
in the spirit." A person is so overwhelmed with God's love that
they go into a trance and are just aware of total love, peace and joy.
Often they will lose consciousness and fall, though they are never hurt.
Many are given messages, visions, and healings during this time.
Why do you suppose that so many of these visions are occurring in Hispanic
and poor communities?
This is one of
the reasons that Jesus in the Gospel has insisted on the importance
of becoming childlike. So many of our people are receiving visions and
messages because they are childlike and have such strong faith. I'm
trying to emulate them because I see that that's where it's at. Many
of them are great saints, little people, you know.
guess that everyone at San José wakes up loving to go to work
in the morning.