Fr. Scott Haynes
The Bright Light of the Holy Eucharist
Fr. Scott A. Haynes
In certain Eucharistic miracles, the Sacred Host emits a bright light. In 1247, for instance, a woman in Santarem, Portugal, was concerned about her husband’s faithfulness. She went to a sorceress, who promised the woman that her husband would return to his loving ways if the wife would bring one of the Sacred Hosts back to the sorceress. The woman agreed. At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the woman went to Holy Communion to obtain the Sacred Host but instead of consuming it, she put it in a handkerchief.
As she walked home blood began to come forth from Our Lord's Body wrapped in the handkerchief. Before she could return to the sorceress, the cloth was saturated with blood. She was frightened. She rushed home and hid the cloth and host in a drawer in her bedroom. That night, the drawer emitted a bright light. When her husband saw it, the woman told him what had happened. The following day, many townspeople came to the house, attracted by the light.
The people reported the events back to the parish priest, who went to the house. He took the Blessed Sacrament back to the church and put it in a wax container where it continued to bleed for three days. That Sacred Host remained in the wax container for four years. One day when the priest opened the tabernacle door, he saw that the wax had broken into numerous pieces. In its place was a crystal container with the blood inside. The house where the miracle took place was converted into a chapel in 1684. Even today, on the second Sunday of April, the incident is re-enacted in the Church of St. Stephen in Santarem. The reliquary that houses the miraculous host rests above the tabernacle in that church, and it can be viewed year-round from a set of stairs behind the main altar.
A similar phenomenon took place in the 1300s in the village of Wawel, near Krakow, Poland. Thieves broke into a church, forced their way into the tabernacle, and stole the monstrance containing consecrated hosts. When they determined that the monstrance was not made of gold, they threw it into nearby marshlands.
When darkness fell, a light emanated from the spot where the monstrance and consecrated hosts had been abandoned. The light was visible for miles around. This frightened the local villagers and they reported it to the Bishop of Krakow. The Bishop called for three days of fasting and prayer to make reparation for this sacrilege. On the final day of this, he led a procession to the marsh. There he found the monstrance and the Sacred Hosts, which were unbroken. Annually on the occasion of the feast of the Corpus Christi, this miracle is celebrated in Corpus Christi Church in Krakow.