Monday, March 21, 2011

"Miraculous Results of Prayer" - Amanuensis Monday

Thanks to John at Transylvanian Dutch who originated the Amanuensis Monday meme, providing a framework (and nudge) for transcribing family records, news clippings and other treasures.

The following article appeared in The Morning Star & Catholic Messenger (New Orleans, LA)  Sunday, 25 Jan 1874 on page 3 and was found through the Chronicling America project of the Library of Congress.

Miraculous Results of Prayer.

[St. Louis Watchman]

Tyndall and the followers of Tyndall have been denying the efficacy of prayer, and have been calling for test of an hospital ward with prayers, against an hospital ward without prayer. The challenge of course has been disregarded. Tyndall was no_ entitled to any notice inasmuch as he had no reason to offer for his conclusions beyond his own infidel presumption.

We have already referred the Tyndall school to the miracles, the fruit of earnest and sincere prayer, that were daily reported as being witnessed at the waters of Lourdes and elsewhere. We now invite the attention of the members of that school that may be enlightening St. Louis by their presence, to two occurrences that have lately taken place in the suburbs of the city; and which being great and sudden cures of deep seated and long existing disease, the subjects thereof attribute to prayer earnestly and continuously addressed.

The first was the case of a girl long paralysed, whose mother despairing of aid in any other way carried her in her arms to the Church of St. Alphonsus, Grand Av., about a month since and asked Father Meredith to do something for the child. Father Meredith said he could do nothing for her, but prayed over the child and directed her to make a novena to "Our Lady of Perpetual Succour."

The mother took away the child and returned about two weeks since, and saying she had made the novena, again called on Father Meredith to do something for the child, that was suffering very much. The Father expressed his sorrow that he could not alleviate the sufferings of the child, but gave a medal, and desired her to renew the novena. She has since returned to Father Meredith, having made the novena, with the child by the hand cured and perfectly well.

The second case was that of Mary Dolan who in September came to St. Alphonsus Church. She complained that she was suffering so that she could not walk without help and had thirteen ulcerous holes in her leg, and asked the Father Superior to give her some relief in the name of God. She felt quite disappointed when he told her that he could do nothing, but that she should appeal to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour who could help her if that was the will of God. The Father read the prayers for the sick and giving her a medal told her to make a novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. She was assisted away and has since returned, her leg being perfectly healed, and able to do her work.

Those are two cases, both of which bear strong and it may be seen, conclusive evidence, that the cures were wrought by Divine Intervention. The diseases in each case were of long standing, matters of notoriety in their respective neighborhoods and apparently incurable by merely human means. The only explanation is the one we have mentioned.

Notes: Father William Meredith, C.SS.R, was my husband's great-great-great uncle, half-brother to his great-great-grandmother Margaret Meredith Palmer. You can read about his early life here and his life as priest here.
John Tyndall from Wikipedia
John Tyndall (1820-1893) was an Irish born physicist and author whose thought provoking and controversial works analyzed Darwin and natural law, religion and prayer. His book The Prayer-gauge debate (1876) is available on-line. The website The Victorian Web has a post about Tyndall and a transcription of his most famous (sixty page!) speech, The Belfast Address which was given in 1874. For a differing present day perspective on Tyndall and the controversy he sparked see John H. Leinhard's Science, Religion and John Tyndall.

From Wikimedia Commons
The history of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour is described in this article transcribed from The Catholic Encyclopedia.  The Marian visions at Lourdes took place in 1858 and healings were reported soon after.

"Miraculous Results of Prayer," The morning star and Catholic messenger (New Orleans [La.]), January 25, 1874, Chronicling America online archive ( : accessed 18 September 2010), Page 3.


  1. What an amazing hunk of history you have here!

  2. What an interesting article. The background information added a lot and answered some of my questions as I was reading the transcription. Even better about the article is that he's an ancestor!

  3. You find the most fascinating stories and tell them so well! I always enjoy reading your blog. It is with great pleasure that I give you the One Lovely Blog Award. You can find the details at my blog, A Sense of Family:


Comments related to the information shared here are most appreciated. All comments are moderated, and since I am not actively researching right now it many take a day or two for your comment to post. Please know that it will post, and that I much appreciate the feedback.