A recipient of a miracle that contributed to the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska, the Saint of Divine Mercy, will give witness at two area parishes on June 2 and 3.
Maureen Digan and her husband Deacon Bob Digan will give a witness talk at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 2, at St. Gregory the Great Parish, Williamsville. On Friday, June 3, they will speak at SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Hamburg, at 7 p.m.
Before the age of 15, Maureen Digan enjoyed a normal healthy life as an active teenager. Then suddenly, she was struck down with a slowly progressive disease called Lymphedema. It is a serious illness that causes massive swelling of the limbs.
This painful disease is caused by a blockage, which prevents fluid from draining. As the fluid builds up, the swelling continues. There's no cure but it can be controlled with diligent care. Unfortunately, it does not respond to medication and does not go into remission.
During the next ten years, Maureen had about 50 operations and lengthy confinements in hospital for up to a year at a time. Friends and relations suggested she should pray and put her trust in God. But Maureen could not understand why God had allowed her to get this disease in the first place and had lost her faith completely. Eventually the doctors decided that because of her deteriorating condition, it was necessary to amputate her leg. They then proceeded to set a date for the second operation of the other leg.
One evening while Maureen was in hospital, her husband Bob went to see a film called "Divine Mercy - No Escape." After seeing this film on the life of Sister Faustina, he became convinced of the healing powers through the intercession of a saint. Bob persuaded Maureen and the doctors that she should go with him to the tomb of Sister Faustina in Poland.
They arrived in Poland in March 1981 and Maureen went to confession for the first time since she was a young girl. At the tomb, then called the Shrine of Sister Faustina, Maureen remembers saying in her own inimitable style, "OK Faustina; I came a long way, now do something".
In her heart she heard Sister Faustina say "If you ask for my help, I will give it to you". Maureen thought she was having a nervous breakdown. All of a sudden, the pain seemed to drain out of her body and her swollen leg which was due to be amputated shortly, went back to its normal size.
When she returned to the states, she was examined by five independent doctors who came to the conclusion that she was completely healed. They had no medical explanation for the sudden healing of this incurable disease. The accumulated evidence for this miracle was examined in consultation by five doctors appointed by the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Having passed this test, it was examined by a team of theologians, and finally by a team of cardinals and bishops.
The cure was accepted by all as a miracle caused by Sister Faustina's intercession to Divine Mercy. Sister Faustina was beatified on April 18, 1993, and canonized in April 2000 by Pope John Paul II. The Digans will bring a relic of St. Faustina for veneration.