A Eucharistic Healing Miracle at Lourdes
Fr. Scott A. Haynes
The speed train carrying urgent mail from Bordeaux to Paris met with a collision on December 17, 1899. A 30-year-old post office express clerk, Gabriel Gargam, was in that train car. When the accident occurred, the train was going at the speed of fifty miles an hour.
Gargam was thrown fifty-two feet from the train car when the crash happened. The accident left him bruised and broken. He was instantly paralyzed from the waist down. His life was slipping away when he was lifted onto a stretcher. Taken to a hospital, his frail existence was a torrent of pain and suffering.
After eight months he had wasted away. He was a mere skeleton. Previously a large man, he now only weighed seventy-eight pounds. His feet became gangrenous. No longer could he take solid food. The only possible way he could have nourishment was by a feeding tube once daily.
Poor Gargam's condition was extremely pitiful. So weak, he could not tend to any of his own needs, but had to rely upon helpers even for the simplest things. Two trained nurses attended to him continuously. Previous to the terrible accident, Gargam had not been to church for fifteen years. His aunt, who was a nun of the Order of the Sacred Heart, begged him to go on pilgrimage to Lourdes. He could not see anything positive in his life. He was consumed with sadness and negativity. He refused.
The good sister repeated her gentle appeals to him. She urged him to place himself in the hands of Our Lady of Lourdes. He plugged his ears to her prayers. When his mother pleaded with him time and again, he relented at last and he agreed to go to Lourdes. Two years had passed since the accident, and in this time, he had been entirely bed-ridden. Returning to the train was in itself traumatic. He was carried on a stretcher to the train. The simple physical exertion of this made him to faint. For the next hour he was unconscious. His nurses and family considered cancelling the pilgrimage. Perhaps this was too hard on him. They wondered if he would die on the way. But then mother insisted, and the journey was made.
Arrived at Lourdes, he was carried to the miraculous pool dug by St. Bernadette. He was tenderly placed in its waters, but there was no effect. Instead, the physical exertion of this, combined with the bodily exhaustion he was suffering, made him swoon and pass out. He lay there nearly dead. They saw the Eucharistic procession of the Blessed Sacrament approaching as they were leaving the pool. They stood aside to let it pass, having placed a cloth over the face of the poor man whom they supposed to be dead.
As the priest passed carrying the Sacred Host, he pronounced Benediction over Gargam and the sorrowful group. All of a sudden, there was a movement from under the covering. To the amazement of all standing around, Gargam's body sat up. While many of the family were dumbfounded, the spectators gazed in amazement. Next, Gargam said in a full, strong voice that he wanted to get up. He stood erect on his own two feet. As he walked a few paces he said that he was cured. The multitude looked in wonder, and then fell on their knees and thanked God for this new sign of His power at the shrine of His Blessed Mother. For two years hardly any food had passed his lips but now he sat down to the table and ate a hearty meal.
When sixty prominent doctors examined Gargam on August 20th, 1901, they pronounced him entirely cured. They found no natural explanation for the nature of the cure. It was truly the power of God in the Holy Eucharist that wrought the miracle. Gargam, out of gratitude to God in the Holy Eucharist and His Blessed Mother, consecrated himself to the service of the sick at Lourdes. Fifteen years after his miraculous cure he was still engaged in his strenuous and devoted work. For the rest of his life, he was a living, visible testimony of the power of God.
"May the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament be praised, adored and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time."