Diseases, Corpses, and Other Wonders
An exploration of the problems resolved miraculously. The vast majority are cures from illness. The diseases amendable to miracle cure change through time according to medical science. Some conditions, such as cancer, appear consistently through time. Gradually, the cures were of specific organic ailments, with tuberculosis increasing in frequency. Cures of psychic disorders always were rare; from the nineteenth century forward, a diagnosis of hysteria could stop the process. Diseases unknown in past centuries, such as leukemia or multiple sclerosis, appear soon after descriptions in the medical literature. The illness must also have defied up-to-date medical care including surgery. In other words, suffering must be a problem that is thought to be beyond the control of the best medical art of the time.
This chapter also examines the nonmedical miracles, including the incorruptibility of the saint’s corpse, preservation from accidental death, and multiplication of food.
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