Episode 2: John Traynor’s Miracle at Lourdes, France

Did I Blow Your Mind?
Average Time to Read: 4 minutes

Episode 2: John Traynor’s Miracle at Lourdes, France

John Traynor was a native of Liverpool, England. His Irish mother died when he was quite young, but the faith which she instilled in her son remained with him the rest of his life. His injuries dated from World War I, when he was a soldier in the Naval Brigade of the Royal British Marines. He took part in the unsuccessful Antwerp expedition of October, 1914, and was hit in the head by shrapnel. He remained unconscious for five weeks. Later, in Egypt, he received a bullet wound in the leg. In the Dardanelles, he distinguished himself in battle but was finally brought down when he was sprayed with machine gun bullets while taking part in a bayonet charge. He was wounded in the head and chest, and one bullet went through his upper right arm and lodged under his collarbone. As a result of these wounds, Traynor’s right arm was paralyzed and the muscles atrophied. His legs were partially paralyzed, and he was epileptic. Sometimes he had as many as three fits a day. By 1916, Traynor had undergone four operations in an attempt to connect the severed muscles of this right arm. All four operations ended in failure. By this time he had been discharged from the service. He was given a one hundred percent pension because he was completely and permanently disabled. He spent much time in various hospitals as an epileptic patient. In April, 1920, his skull was operated on in an attempt to remove some of the shrapnel. This operation did not help his epilepsy, and it left a hole about an inch wide in his skull. The pulsating of his brain could be seen through this hole. A silver plate was inserted in order to shield the brain… In July, 1923, Traynor heard that the Liverpool diocese was organizing a pilgrimage to Lourdes. He had always had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin and determined to join the pilgrimage. He took a gold sovereign which he had been saving for an emergency and used it as the first payment on a ticket. At first his wife was very much disturbed by the idea of her husband making such a difficult trip. His friends tried to talk him out of it. His doctor told him the trip would be suicide. The government ministry of pensions protested against the idea. One of the priests in charge of the pilgrimage begged him to cancel his booking. All of this was to no avail. Traynor had made up his mind, and there was no changing it… The trip was extremely trying, and Traynor was very sick. Three times, during the journey across France, the directors of the pilgrimage wished to take him off the train and put him in a hospital. Each time there was no hospital where they stopped, and so they had to keep him on board. He was more dead than alive when he reached Lourdes on July 22…So bad was his condition that one woman took it upon herself to write to his wife and tell her that there was no hope for him and that he would be buried in Lourdes. [After his 9th bath in the waters of Lourdes he began to feel “agitation” in his legs [after which, he got out of his wheelchair and walked unassisted for a time]. Later, during the daily Eucharistic procession, as the visiting Archbishop of Rheims touched him with the Eucharistic monstrance, he also described an “agitation” once again in his withered arm. He was instantly able to make the sign of the cross with that arm despite the fact that he has lost the use of it in 1915, eight years earlier. Later that night he jumped out of bed and ran past caregivers outside the hospital into the open night air though he weighed only 112 lbs. and had not walked in eight years [until earlier that day]. He proceeded to run toward the Grotto, which was the reported apparition site of Mary, and knelt in prayer.] A crowd of people gathered about Traynor while he was praying at the grotto. After about twenty minutes, he arose from his knees, surprised and rather annoyed by the audience he had attracted. The people fell back to allow him to pass. At the crowned statute of our Lady, he stopped and knelt again. His mother had taught him that he should always make some sacrifice when he wished to venerate the Virgin. He had no money to give. The few shillings he had left after buying a railroad ticket, he had spent to buy rosaries and medals for his wife and children. He therefore made the only sacrifice he could think of: he promised our Lady that he would give up cigarettes… Although the cure took place in 1923, the Medical Bureau waited till 1926 to issue its report. Traynor was examined again, and it was found that his cure was permanent. “His right arm which was like a skeleton has recovered all its muscles. The hole near his temple [both the skull and skin around the wound] has completely disappeared. He had a certificate from Dr. McConnell of Liverpool attesting that he had not had an epileptic attack since 1923… [Neither the paralysis nor the epilepsy ever returned. Doctors were able to determine that, in the case of his atrophied arm, new muscle and tissue must have been created from nothing and seamed together.]” Though over seventy thousand people have claimed to have been healed at Lourdes of various ailments over the past century, the Church have only accepted 71 claims (updated from 69 as of this summer) as authenticated and fully documented miracles due to the high standard of proof that it demands. John Traynor’s miracle is one of those 71. Among the requirements of the Church are that the miracle be relatively instantaneous rather than gradual, that it persists over time and, most importantly, that extensive before and after medical x-rays, photos and/or documentation be present to scientifically establish the change. (magiscenter.com)
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