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Life and Doctrine of Saint Catherine of Genoa
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CHAPTER XXXVI

How a person, hopelessly ill, was cured by the prayers of the saint.

A man named Marco dal Sale, who was suffering from a cancer of his nose, after trying every remedy that could be devised by the skill of physicians, and finding no relief, became almost desperately impatient. His wife Argentina, seeing his condition, went to the hospital where the holy Catherine lived, and begged her to visit her sick husband, and pray the Lord for him; and the saint, as if under obedience, complied.

This blessed soul was so obedient, that if an ant had come to ask her to perform some act of mercy, she would at once have followed it. Catherine, having arrived at the house of the sick man, somewhat consoled him by a few humble and devout words. Returning afterwards to the hospital with Argentina, they entered a church called St. Mary of Grace, and there kneeling, Catherine was moved to pray for the sick man. Having finished her prayer, she returned with Argentina to the hospital, and when the latter had taken eave of her and gone home, she found her husband so changed, that from a demon he had almost become an angel, and, turning to Argentina, he exclaimed with joy and tenderness; “Oh! Argentina, tell me who is that holy soul whom you have brought here?” and Argentina answered: “It is Madonna Catherine Adorno, whose life is most perfect.” The sick man then implored her, by the love of God, that she would bring her there again. The next day she complied with is request, and having related to St. Catherine what occurred, brought her home with her again.

She knew, however, beforehand, the condition of this sick man, in the answer to her secret prayer; for she never made a special prayer except when interiorly moved to it by her Love, by which also she knew that it was favorably heard. When she entered the room the sick man saluted her, and continued weeping for some time, then said: “The reasons why I have asked you to come here again are, first, to thank you for your charity towards me, and then to ask of you one more favor, which I pray you not to deny me. After you left me, our Lord Jesus Christ himself appeared visibly to me, under the form in which he appeared to Magdalene in the garden, gave me his most holy blessing, pardoned my sins, and said that he appeared to me, because on Ascension Day I was to go to him; therefore, I pray you, most kind mother, that you may be pleased to accept Argentina as your spiritual daughter, retaining her always near you; and I pray you, Argentina, to consent to this.” Both answered him joyfully that they were content. After Catherine had gone, the sick man sent for an Augustinian Father from a monastery called the Consolation, and having carefully made his confession and received communion, summoned a notary and his relatives, and arranged all his affairs, satisfying every one. They all thought that his sufferings had turned his head, and told him to be comforted, that he would soon recover and that there was no need of his attending to these things; but he was too wise to be influenced by their persuasions. The vigil of the Ascension having arrived, he sent again for his confessor, again made his confession, and received holy communion; then he received extreme unction with recommendation of the soul, all with great devotion, in preparation for his journey. Night coming on, he said to his confessor: “Return to your monastery, and when the time comes, I will send for you. Every one having gone, he was left alone with his wife, and turning towards her with the crucifix in his hand, said: “Argentina! I leave you this for your spouse, prepare to suffer, for I assure you that you will have to do so,” which she indeed did, both mentally and from long continued bodily infirmity. He passed the night in exhorting and encouraging her to give herself entirely to God, to be willing to endure suffering, which is the ladder of ascent to heaven. When it was day, he said: “Argentina, God be with you, for the hour is come,” and having uttered these words, he expired, and his spirit knocked at the window of his confessor’s cell, crying: Ecce Homo; which when the confessor heard, he knew that Marco had passed to his Lord.

After the burial of Marco, the blessed Catherine received Argentina as her spiritual daughter, according to her promise, and this by a divine dispensation, for, if she had not had such a spiritual child, she could not have lived in the state of abstraction in which she was often thrown by the burning fires of her sweet Love. As she loved this daughter of hers very much, she took her with her whenever she went out; and one day when they were passing the before-mentioned church, Our Lady of Grace, she entered, and after making her devotions, she said to Argentina: “This is the place where grace was obtained for your husband.” The Lord permitted her to say this, that the miracle might be made known for our edification.

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