Will This Miracle be a Saint-Maker?

Blessed Titus Brandsma (1881-1942)

The  alleged miraculous healing of a retired priest suffering from a deadly skin cancer is being investigated as a possible miracle for the cause of sainthood for Blessed Titus Brandsma.

According to the Diocese of Palm Beach, documents regarding the healing of Reverend Michael Driscoll, O.Carm, former pastor of St. Jude Church in Boca Raton, have been officially submitted to the Vatican for review.

In 2004, Father Driscoll was diagnosed with late stage malignant metastatic melanoma, an aggressive and deadly cancer. Although Father Driscoll underwent more than 30 treatments, the odds were against recovery.

But Father Driscoll had a deep devotion to Blessed Titus Brandsma, a Carmelite mystic who was killed by lethal injection by the Nazis on July 26, 1942. Truly a saint for our time, Father Brandsma was a writer, educator and advisor for Catholic editors and newspapers in Holland who was a stalwart defender of freedom of religion and the Catholic press. This ultimately led to his arrest and imprisonment in the Dachau concentration camp in Germany where he was killed. Declared a martyr of the Catholic Church, he was beatified in Rome by Pope John Paul II in November, 1985.

As soon as Father Driscoll received the diagnosis, that he was in the fourth and even fifth stage of melanoma in some parts of his body, he turned to Blessed Titus.

According to the Order of Carmelites website, a plea for prayer for Father Driscoll was published in the July 22, 2004 issue of the Florida Catholic under the title, “St. Jude pastor needs prayers of healing.”

The article read, “Father Michael Driscoll, OCarm, pastor of St. Jude Parish and director of liturgy for the diocese, is awaiting surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. St. Jude parishioners and staff members of the Diocese of Palm Beach ask all to keep Father Driscoll in prayers of healing through the intercession of Father Titus Brandsma, a Dutch Carmelite, who was beatified in 1985.”

Margaret Owers, a former diocesan staff member who worked in the diocesan Liturgy Office with Father Driscoll, clearly remembered the dire diagnosis and how adamantly the then-62-year-old priest wanted prayer through the intercession of Blessed Titus.

“It was very bad,” Owers said. “I had the impression that it was the worst. He gave me a stack of holy cards and he asked me to distribute them. There were about 30 to 40 prayer cards. I gave them out to people. I kept a card, and I continued to pray as I thought of him.”

The cancer spread to 10 lymph nodes and began attacking his salivary gland. Although surgery was successful, he had to endure more than 30 aggressive radiation treatments.

This was followed by milder treatments for the next few years. He improved, but doctors warned that most melanomas come back after two to five years.

“I buried six people in our parish who had it after I was diagnosed,” he said. “The doctors said I was clear. After 10 years, they dismissed me.”

The Diocese of Palm Beach report that doctors have declared Father Driscoll to be cancer-free and his good health over the past 12 years to have defied all odds. They have stated that his healing and recovery cannot be explained medically.

The diocese opened its investigation into Fr. Driscoll’s alleged healing miracle in July 2016.

“There is no set time limit for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to make a recommendation regarding the alleged unexplained medical healing of Father Driscoll, whether the healing can, in fact, be attributed to Blessed Titus or if Blessed Titus would be declared a new saint of the Catholic Church,” the diocese said. “The review and decision process by the Holy See can take months or years.”

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