I had been suffering from serious pain in my seat and legs since February 2009 to the point that I had been unable to sit. After four months of taking pain medicine, doing physical therapy, and going to an acupuncturist and chiropractor with no relief, I finally had an MRI done in late June that revealed lesions on three vertebrae in my spine that were suspicious of “sclerotic metastasis” or cancer metastasizing from somewhere else in my body. I was given this news by my doctor on Monday, July 6. She immediately ordered a series of tests including cat scans, nuclear bone scans, chest and neck x-rays, mammogram, etc. to identify the source of the cancer. She also authorized me to have the lesions biopsied as soon as possible to confirm their malignancy.
On the evening of July 6, I shared this news with my brother, Randy Weber, of St. Charles, Missouri. Very early the morning of July 7, Randy called me saying that he had been awakened from his sleep thinking about an incident that occurred several weeks prior and felt so compelled to call me that he could not get back to sleep.
Randy shared with me that four weeks earlier his parish priest, Fr. Noah, stopped him coming out of his pew after Sunday Mass and handed him a book he thought Randy would enjoy reading, The Holy Man of Tours , on the life of Leo DuPont. Randy was taken by surprise as he did not know Fr. Noah very well and had never heard of the Holy Face Devotion (image left on Veronica’s veil) of which Leo DuPont was such a great Apostle. Even stranger, Fr. Noah told Randy that if he didn’t have time to read the entire book to just read the few pages he marked on the holy card enclosed – pp. 158-60 & 186-87.
Randy read with interest about the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus given in Tours, France in the 1840’s to a Carmelite nun, Sister Mary of St. Peter. Its purpose is to make reparation to Our Lord for blasphemies against His Holy Face, profanation of Holy Days and Sundays and to combat atheistic communism which was just beginning to spread at the time. It was also given as a means of asking God for anything we wish. After reading the book, Randy put it away in the closet.
In the early hours of Tuesday, July 7, Randy was awaken from his sleep with thoughts of this book, and after being unable to go back to sleep, arose to read the pages Fr. Noah marked. The first two pages told the story of a young woman with 3 cancer wounds who came to pray for a cure before the image of the Holy Face of Christ which hung in Leo DuPont’s home with a lamp burning perpetually before it! The image had become well known the world over for its miraculous healing powers. After returning nine times to present her petition before the Holy Face and after nine anointings with oil from the lamp, the woman was completely cured. Tears welled in Randy’s eyes as he thought of me with the 3 potential cancer lesions on my spine.
The second two pages marked by Fr. Noah told the story of a young woman with a severely crushed foot who came to pray before the Holy Face for a cure, and cried out “Lord, if it be Thy will you can grant me a cure”. Leo DuPont retorted “That is not the way to pray. You should pray with confidence and make your desire known to God in a positive manner.” You should say “Lord, cure me.” After gaining her confidence, the girl was completed cured.
Randy told me he now understood that this book and these marked pages were meant for me and that God was assuring me through him that I would be fine. He instructed me to get a picture of the Holy Face, light a lamp before it and pray a nine day Novena asking God with complete confidence to cure me. He said I should keep the lamp burning the entire nine days and have my husband, Tom, anoint my back with oil from the lamp each night after we recited the Novena, just as Leo DuPont had done for the thousands of pilgrims who were cured at his home.
Randy also encouraged me to pray for the intercession of the Blessed Mother since I have a devotion to her and suggested I anoint my back with Holy Water from Lourdes as well. He had a vile of holy water from the spring at Lourdes which he FedEx’ed to me the next day. I complied with all his suggestions and was so grateful to God for His clear assurances to me that I would be healed!
Meanwhile, I scheduled some of the many tests the Doctor requested that week, but was having great difficulty scheduling the biopsy and the bone scan needed by the radiologist doing the biopsy.
On Saturday, July 11, after morning Mass, my husband said he thought I should have the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. I was taken by surprise but said I would consider it. The next morning Randy called me after Sunday Mass and said he thought I should receive the Anointing of the Sick. I was so surprised to hear the suggestion twice in 24 hours that Tom and I immediately drove to our Church and happened to catch our priest walking out of the Church after the last Mass of the day. He anointed me immediately.
On Monday, July 13, Randy called to say that he had joined the Arch-confraternity of the Holy Face of Jesus and had just received a package in the mail. He mentioned that his name would be registered in the Arch- confraternity that coming Thursday, July 16, the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. I was taken by surprise, as July 16 was the last day of my Novena! I took this as a sign from the Blessed Mother that she had heard my prayers and would obtain the favor for me from her Divine Son on her feast day.
On Tuesday, July 14, after still no luck with scheduling the biopsy and being told I’d have to wait until July 28 for a bone scan, I finally decided to go out of my health care network to a specialist that had been referred to me by a good friend who is the CEO of one of our San Diego health care systems. Remarkably, by the end of the day on Tuesday I was able to get a bone scan scheduled at another location the very next day, July 15, and a biopsy scheduled for Thursday, July 16, the last day of my novena!
On Thursday morning, July 16, Tom and I woke up and finished our novena and then went to Mass. From Mass we went directly to the hospital for the biopsy and, as I lay on the operating table ready for the anesthesia to be injected, the doctor walked in and said “I’ve been looking at all the tests you’ve had this past week, including yesterday’s bone scan, and I do not see any evidence of cancer. I think these lesions are benign. In fact I don’t think you need this biopsy unless you just want to be 100% sure there’s no cancer.”
I lay their stunned and asked for his recommendation. He said “let’s do one more “cone” cat scan that is focused directly on these 3 lesions to see if there is anything suspicious and then decide.” After the cat scan he returned saying “I see nothing suspicious in any of these. There is no reason to do this biopsy.”
I then asked him about the pain I continue to have in my seat and legs, and after some discussion, he said “it must be providential that you came to me today because I believe you have piriformis syndrome and I happen to be a specialist in this area. I can give you cortisone shots that should take care of it!”
As my husband and I returned home from the hospital I was incredulous that all of these events had fallen into place by the ninth day of my novena and all the test results had come back negative… all but one. The only test result that I had not yet gotten back was my mammogram from the day before, and breast cancer was the one area the doctors felt was my greatest risk. I called that afternoon to see if the lab results were in, but could not get a return call.
After dinner Thursday my husband brought in the day’s mail and incredibly there laid a postcard from the lab saying that my mammogram results were fine! How they were mailed and delivered within 24 hours of the test is beyond me.
The picture of the Holy Face of Christ is now hanging in a place of honor in our family room as a constant reminder to us of God’s tender love for his children.
Go here for more information about Devotion the to Holy Face of Jesus .