Mary Lou Swanson’s body was shutting down after battling a rare and debilitating autoimmune disease affecting her brain for nearly a decade.
The 54-year-old North Aurora woman could no longer eat solid food. She had signed legal documents asking medical personnel not to resuscitate her if her heart stopped beating. And after talking through funeral plans with her husband, she relied on her religious beliefs to bring her peace in the face of death, which Swanson felt was closing in.
“I thought this is God’s will, and this is his answer to all my pain and suffering,” Swanson recalled. “At that point, I didn’t have much of a life, and I thought maybe he’s just giving me peace as a gift.”
What happened next is something Swanson herself admits is almost inconceivable.
After seeing a segment on the long-running program “Unsolved Mysteries” about a grave site in Louisiana where hundreds of people flock weekly to pray for healing, Swanson persuaded her husband to take her there.
Within a day after running her fingers over the tombstone of 12-year-old Charlene Richard, “the Little Cajun Saint” who, according to legend, offered up all her suffering to others when she died of leukemia in 1959, Swanson’s symptoms began to disappear. Weeks later, her doctor confirmed Swanson’s disease, limbic encephalitis — which affects about 1 in 100,000 people and can be fatal — had suddenly gone into remission.
She no longer needed the medicine and treatments she had relied on for years.
“We are not sure exactly what happened, and we are not sure why it reversed itself,” said Dr. Ronald Glas, a family physician at Edward Hospital who has overseen Swanson’s care since before she was ever sick. “I’m not sure what to attribute it to.”
Read the rest here.
A PRAYER TO CHARLENE RICHARD
Charlene, when you were only twelve years old, you showed heroic faith, hope, and love; dying of leukemia, you joined yourself to Jesus on His Cross and offered your intense pain for others. You thereby echoed St. Pauls words to his people in Colossians 1, 24: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His Body, the Church.
Charlene, I believe you are with God. Please ask our Heavenly Father, His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit to grant me the following favor: (mention favor sought)
Charlene, thank you for helping me. May Jesus Christ always be praised. May Mary, Jesus Ever-Virgin Mother, always be called blessed. Amen.