Have You Heard of These Awesome Eucharistic Miracles?
Eucharistic miracles take place every day on every continent. Every single Mass involves a true Eucharistic miracle in which the bread and wine is truly made the Body and Blood of Our Lord. This must always be kept in mind when discussing what many of us call Eucharistic miracles. Stories of the host turning into flesh or bleeding is simply a physical miracle that reveals the reality of the real miracle that occurs every time the priest says the words of consecration over the bread and wine.
But these times in which the Eucharist changes physically become newsworthy because of their rarity. These stories can truly help our faith and should serve as reminders of the reality that happens at every Mass and not just once in a great while. So, with that said, lets take a look at ten Eucharistic Miracles, and start with one that does not involve the Host bleeding or becoming flesh.
A story comes down from Amsterdam. In 1345 a man was dying and a priest came to visit him to give him viaticum. Viaticum is “food for the journey” or the final Eucharist of somebody’s life. This dying man was having trouble keeping food down and so the priest told the family that if the man ended up throwing the Eucharist back up that they should burn the throw up in the fire to properly dispose of the Eucharist. The priest gave the man his Viaticum and sure enough, after the priest left the man threw up. The family took the throw up and placed it in the fire in their hearth and went to bed. In the morning when somebody was clearing out the ash from the hearth they found the Host unscathed at the bottom. The host had survived both the man’s digestive system and the fire. This event was commemorated with a procession in Amsterdam for centuries.
The next Eucharistic miracle has a long and complicated history. The short version is that there was a lot of antagonism between the Jews and Catholics in Belgium in the late 1300s. A Jewish man stole some consecrated hosts from a Catholic church and there was a ceremony to profane them in the synagogue. This ceremony involved stabbing the hosts with daggers. When the hosts were stabbed, they began to bleed real blood. This account was relayed to Catholic officials who had the Jewish people in charge of the ceremony arrested and executed. The hosts were kept and paraded around in processions throughout the years following and a series of stained glass windows in a chapel were created to commemorate this event. Once Calvinism became the law of Belgium, all Catholic events, including this procession, were banned. Once Catholicism became legal again the celebration of this event began again and ran until the end of the second World War when it was suppressed to strengthen solidarity between Jews and Catholics.
On Easter Sunday of 1331 in Blanot, France, a woman attended Mass and after the host was placed on her tongue it fell off and fell onto a cloth on the altar rail. When the priest came to pick up the host he found that the host was gone and a stain of fresh blood the size of the host was on the cloth. He took the cloth and after Mass began to hand wash it and the water became filled with the blood. Then he realized that this was a miracle and cut the piece of cloth out and placed it in the tabernacle. It remained in the tabernacle without disintegrating until the French Revolution when the church was ransacked and the piece of cloth was entrusted to a parishioner. After the Revolution the cloth was returned to the parish where it has been ever since. It is brought out in a procession every Easter Monday.
In the 8th century in Lanciano, Italy, a priest who doubted the real presence was celebrating Mass when the host began to bleed. It has been repeatedly tested since 1545 (the time of the Council of Trent) and can only be described as a miracle. The host became unmistakably a piece of heart muscle, The blood has been tested and came back as type AB, the type every Eucharistic miracle contains, as well as the type found on the Shroud of Turin.
Perhaps the most famous Eucharistic miracle is from a small town in Italy called Bolsena. A visiting priest, who also had serious doubts about the real presence in the Eucharist, was celebrating Mass when the host began to bleed in his hands. He took the host to the nearby town of Orvieto where the pope was staying. The pope, Urban IV, after investigation, declared the miracle real and had the host and corporal with the blood on it put in the Cathedral at Orvieto. It can still be seen there today. Inspired by this event Pope Urban IV commissioned St. Thomas Aquinas to write prayers for Masses celebrating the true presence and once these were written instituted the Feast of Corpus Christi.
During the 13th century St. Anthony of Padua was engaged in a debate over the real presence and so an agreement was made. St. Anthony asked if he would believe if a mule were to bow and worship the host. The person agreed on the following stipulations- the mule had to be starved for two days prior and led into the town square where one side had fresh food for it to eat and the other side a single host. St. Anthony agreed and it was set up. The mule came into the square and immediately went over to the host and bowed down. The man was instantly converted.
There are also more recent miracles involving the Eucharist. In the 1990s in Argentina a host began to bleed during Mass. It was investigated by the bishop and it was determined that a Eucharistic miracle had occurred. What makes this miracle so interesting is that we all know the bishop who ordered the investigation done- he is no longer just the bishop in Argentina but is our Holy Father, Pope Francis.
In 1991 in Venezuela again a host began to bleed during Mass. However, this host didn’t stop bleeding and the blood type again was AB, not the priest's blood type. Even today the host produces blood from itself in small amounts and this has been verified by experts. The host can be seen and worshipped in a convent.
In May of 2001 in India, a host was placed in a monstrance for adoration and during adoration the people noticed three dots appear on the host. The priest went to inform the bishop and when they returned they found not only three dots but the entire image of a face crowned with thorns. This host has not been studied to determine what the image is made from, but the host is still used for veneration today.
Finally, in 2008 in Poland a host fell on the ground and the priest picked it up and saw what he thought was dirt on the host. He then placed the host in a bowl of water to disintegrate the host as should be done. However, the host did not disintegrate and the ‘dirt’ did not come off. It was then that the priest looked closer and saw that it was not dirt but rather blood. Two scientists, independent of each other examined the host and determined that it wasn’t blood but rather heart muscle that was inexplicably joined to the host in a way that is scientifically impossible. The host can still be seen today in the town of Sokolka, Poland.