It is a few months in the parish of the Holy Spirit in Nowy Sącz where there are relics of St. Szarbel from Lebanon. And miracles are happening. People have been experiencing lots of graces for years, including healings. One of healed people is Barbara Koral – a wife of Józef, a potentate in production of ice-cream and mother of three children. She was suffering from pancreatic cancer, after which there is no sign. On 17 May 2019 she shared her testimony publicly

This October I had malign pancreas cancer diagnosed – Barbara Koral says. – I experienced shock. But my deep faith and trustfulness in God’s mercifulness brought peace into my heart. I was lying in hospital in Cracow at Kopernik street, near the Jesuits’ church. My children and husband were with me every day. We were praying to Transfigurated Jesus through intercession of St. John Paul II and St. Szarbel. Son-in-law Piotr brought a holy wafer soaked with oil of St. Szarbel, from a priest he knew. Every day we prayed with novena and during prayers I rubbed the oil onto my body. I felt that having St. Szarbel as my advocator, I would not die – she says.

Hopeless case

The operation lasted over 6 hours. After opening the abdominal cavity most doctors put away tools and went away from the operation table saying that the case was hopeless. However, after a few minutes of long thinking, the professor returned to the operation. He removed cancer. The operation was successful.

- I was a bit weakened – Mrs. Barbara says – especially that 3 weeks before I had had another surgery, also in complete anesthesia. I ate nothing and felt weaker and weaker.

On the third day after the operation the ill woman got higher temperature, shivers. She was lying half-conscious and was really suffering. – From time to time it seemed to me that somebody was cutting me half with an axe. I was lying curled and praying to God with request for help in my suffering and relief in carrying that cross. Doctors were doing what they could. They were giving her medications in injections, a drip in order to strengthen her. Nothing worked. Her blood was tested. It turned out that there was hospital bacterial infection, very severe for her organism. Healthy people infected with this kind of bacteria have 50 percent of chance to survive. The ill at the state of extreme exhaustion practically have no chance.

Entrustment to God

- I was talking to God – Mrs. Barbara says.- I was asking Him whether I would die after He had saved me from death during the operation. I was asking Him with humility and trustfulness: ‘Jesus, do not let me off your embracement. Please, heal me, my beloved Redeemer’. I was calling in my mind with my whole heart: ‘Jesus, I entrust myself to You, please, You do something about it!’.

At that time the parish of the Holy Spirit in Nowy Sącz, to which the Koral family belonged, was waiting for relics of St. Szarbel (relics of the first degree – a bone fragment). They were brought from Lebanon by my previous parish priest – Fr. Andrzej Baran, a Jesuit who had been on a pilgrimage there with a few parishioners. They also took collected money for Christians there. For, it is known that St. Szarbel is particularly merciful for those who pray for Lebanon. Relics, according to the original destination, were to be taken to Fr. Józef Maj SJ in Cracow. He agreed to pass them over to Nowy Sącz and installed them there in January 2019.

Interference of St. Szarbel

- On the day when I went for relics in Cracow – Fr. Józef says, who is a parish priest of the church of the Holy Spirit in Nowy Sącz – I entered a bookshop of the WAM publishing house, in order to buy a book about St. Szarbel as I will admit, I knew about him very little. Leaving the bookshop, I met Józef Koral with her daughter. I knew that Mrs. Barbara was very ill. They told me that they were coming back from the hospital and that the situation was very serious. I had had the relics with me for two hours. Not wondering a lot, we went to the ward.

- At one moment I heard my husband’s voice – Mrs. Barbara says. – I was very surprised as he had visited me a while before and was going with our daughter to church for the Holy Mass. After a while I saw my husband and daughter. They were not sad any longer. There was a wide smile on their faces. There was also parish priest Józef Polak with them. He brought relics of St. Szarbel to the hospital...

The priest and those who were present said a prayer to St. Szarbel. Then he gave a reliquary to the ill woman to kiss. – During the prayer I did not feel any pain – says Mrs. Barbara. – I became more conscious. When I kissed St. Szarbel’s bones I did not think whether it would be healing – I was certain about it. I have no idea why.

The saint versus bacteria

- When I was entering the hospital – says Fr. Polak – I knew that there was infection in the ward. I gave Mrs. Barbara a reliquary to kiss. A nurse saw it. She took the reliquary out of my hand, sprayed it with something and put it into water. ‘What are you doing?’ – I asked. ‘I must disinfect it. ’But it is not waterproof’ – I explained, not knowing that she meant preventing from bacteria spreading. It was the end of the visit.

Next morning it turned out that there were no bacteria in the ward. It was another ‘miracle’ from St. Szarbel. Blood tests confirmed that the ill woman had no bacteria in her body. To their astonishment, doctors were looking at medical tests results. To make sure they redid the tests.

- I was healthy – says Mrs. Barbara. – I was slowly recovering and getting happier. My whole family and friends who were with me during my illness, were supporting me with prayer and good words, are grateful to St. Szarbel. We bless him for his care about me, for helping me gain the grace of healing from God. Thanks to God and St. Szarbel!

Faith in intercession

In the parish church of the Holy Spirit in Nowy Sącz on the third Fridays in a month at 6 p.m. there is the Holy Mass for healing, and then there is: adoration, blessing of the Holy Sacrament, anointing with oil of St. Szarbel and kissing relics of the saint. A lot of people arrive to ask for his intercession. St. Szarbel is an extremely effective saint, helping in gaining graces, showing that God’s help for people who pray to Him , may be real. – However, there is no guarantee that somebody who will pray to St. Szarbel will be healed at once – says Fr. Józef Polak. – Sometimes it is different. God’s grace works according to God’s plans, not our wishes. Saints can bring people to Church through their intercession and do it, also through miracles. One can only look at how many people participate in the Holy Mass with a prayer for healing.

Translated by Aneta Amrozik

„Niedziela” 24/2019

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl