On 13th December 2017 an event took place in the United States of America that may take the cause of Carmelite martyr Blessed Titus Brandsma a step closer to canonisation.
The Bishop of Palm Beach Diocese in Florida, Rt. Rev. Gerald Barbarito, and other officials signed, witnessed, and sealed the papers relating to an investigation of a medically unexplained healing attributed to God through the intercession of Blessed Titus.
The vice-postulator of the cause of Blessed Titus Brandsma, Fr. Mario Esposito, O.Carm. (left) looks on as the enquiry documents are signed and sealed by Bishop Barbarito and Fr. Glen Pothier, adjutant judicial vicar of the diocesan Office of Tribunal/Canonical Affairs.
The recipient of this grace is Father Michael Driscoll, a Carmelite friar working in Palm Beach Diocese. In 2004 he was diagnosed with a severe stage of metastatic melanoma cancer that was attacking his neck area behind the ear and spreading to other parts of his body. Some areas of the cancer were in the critical fourth and fifth stages. A sincere devotee of Blessed Titus, Father Michael prayed to God for healing through the intercession of the Carmelite martyr, and his prayers were joined by fellow Carmelites, parishioners, friends and family. Undergoing more than 30 treatments including surgery, Father Michael said with determination, "I am okay because Titus is going to take care of me."
Father Michael Driscoll (next to Father Glen) with fellow Carmelites, Bishop Barbarito, and others involved in the diocesan investigation.
Blessed Titus Brandsma was a Carmelite friar in The Netherlands. During World War II he used his role as an academic and chaplain to Catholic newspapers to oppose the fascist ideologies of the Nazi regime. For this he was arrested and imprisoned in various concentration camps, where he was a model of prayer and kindness, even to his captors. He was killed by lethal injection in 1942, and the nurse who administered the injection gave testimony as part of his beatification process. Titus was declared "Blessed" by Pope John Paul II in 1985. As a martyr for the Christian faith, a miracle was not required for Titus' beatification. To be declared a saint through canonisation, however, a supernatural miracle of healing is required to prove that the person is interceding with God in heaven. Titus' holiness and courage have inspired people for decades, especially members of the Carmelite Family, and the people of The Netherlands.
Blessed Titus Brandsma.
The process of canonisation requires an investigation to be undertaken by the diocese in which the healed person lives. This is the first such case to be investigated in Palm Beach Diocese. The local enquiry began on 11 July 2016. The diocesan investigation is a very meticulous process in which evidence is presented and witnesses are interviewed and questioned, including medical experts. Doctors have states that Father Driscoll's cancer is now gone and are amazed at his recovery, his good health over the past decade defying all odds.
On 13th December the diocese held the Official Closing Session of its investigated into the alleged miraculous healing. After a period of prayer, the papers were signed, witnessed, sealed, and then sent to the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints. If the case is deemed to be a credible miracle, and Pope Francis approves, the canonisation of Titus Brandsma will be declared.
Prayer during the Official Closing Session of the diocesan investigation.