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The Third Miracle by Bill Briggs - Excerpt

The Third Miracle by Bill Briggs - Excerpt

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4.36

(11)
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Part detective story and part courtroom drama—with a touch of the supernatural—The Third Miracle exposes, for the first time ever, the secret rituals and investigations the Catholic Church today undertakes in order to determine sainthood.

On a raw January 2001 morning at a Catholic convent deep in the Indiana woods, a Baptist handyman named Phil McCord made an urgent plea to God. He was by no means a religious man but he was a desperate man. McCord’s right eye was a furious shade of red and had pulsed for months in the wake of cataract surgery. He had one shot at recovery: a risky procedure that would replace part of his diseased eye with healthy tissue from a corpse. Dreading the grisly operation, McCord stopped into the convent’s chapel and offered a prayer—a spontaneous and fumbling request of God: Can you help me get through this? He merely hoped for inner peace, but when McCord awoke the next day, his eye was better—suddenly and shockingly better. Without surgery. Without medicine. And no doctor could explain it. Many would argue that Mother Théodore Guérin, the long-deceased matriarchal founder of the convent, had “interceded” on McCord’s behalf. Was the healing of Phil McCord’s eye a miracle?
That was a question that the Catholic Church and the pope himself would ultimately decide. As part of an ancient and little-known process, top Catholic officials would convene a confidential tribunal to examine the handyman’s healing, to verify whether his recovery defied the laws of nature. They would formally summon McCord, his doctors, coworkers, and family to a windowless basement room at the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. They would appoint two local priests to serve the roles of judge and prosecutor. And they would put this alleged miracle on trial, all in an effort to determine if Mother Théodore, whose cause for beatification and canonization dated back to 1909, should be named the eighth American saint.

In The Third Miracle, journalist Bill Briggs meticulously chronicles the Church investigation into this mysterious healing and offers a unique window into the ritualistic world of the secretive Catholic saint-making process—one of the very foundations on which the Church is built. With exclusive access to the case and its players, Briggs gives readers a front-row seat inside the closed-door drama as doctors are grilled about the supernatural, priests doggedly hunt for soft spots in the claim, and McCord comes to terms with the metaphorical “third miracle”: his own reconciliation with the metaphysical. As the inquiry shifts from the American heartland to an awaiting jury at Vatican City in Rome, Briggs astutely probes our hunger for everyday miracles in an age of technology, the Catholic Church’s surprisingly active saint-making operation, and the eternal clash of faith and science.

To read more about The Third Miracle or Bill Briggs please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.
Part detective story and part courtroom drama—with a touch of the supernatural—The Third Miracle exposes, for the first time ever, the secret rituals and investigations the Catholic Church today undertakes in order to determine sainthood.

On a raw January 2001 morning at a Catholic convent deep in the Indiana woods, a Baptist handyman named Phil McCord made an urgent plea to God. He was by no means a religious man but he was a desperate man. McCord’s right eye was a furious shade of red and had pulsed for months in the wake of cataract surgery. He had one shot at recovery: a risky procedure that would replace part of his diseased eye with healthy tissue from a corpse. Dreading the grisly operation, McCord stopped into the convent’s chapel and offered a prayer—a spontaneous and fumbling request of God: Can you help me get through this? He merely hoped for inner peace, but when McCord awoke the next day, his eye was better—suddenly and shockingly better. Without surgery. Without medicine. And no doctor could explain it. Many would argue that Mother Théodore Guérin, the long-deceased matriarchal founder of the convent, had “interceded” on McCord’s behalf. Was the healing of Phil McCord’s eye a miracle?
That was a question that the Catholic Church and the pope himself would ultimately decide. As part of an ancient and little-known process, top Catholic officials would convene a confidential tribunal to examine the handyman’s healing, to verify whether his recovery defied the laws of nature. They would formally summon McCord, his doctors, coworkers, and family to a windowless basement room at the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. They would appoint two local priests to serve the roles of judge and prosecutor. And they would put this alleged miracle on trial, all in an effort to determine if Mother Théodore, whose cause for beatification and canonization dated back to 1909, should be named the eighth American saint.

In The Third Miracle, journalist Bill Briggs meticulously chronicles the Church investigation into this mysterious healing and offers a unique window into the ritualistic world of the secretive Catholic saint-making process—one of the very foundations on which the Church is built. With exclusive access to the case and its players, Briggs gives readers a front-row seat inside the closed-door drama as doctors are grilled about the supernatural, priests doggedly hunt for soft spots in the claim, and McCord comes to terms with the metaphorical “third miracle”: his own reconciliation with the metaphysical. As the inquiry shifts from the American heartland to an awaiting jury at Vatican City in Rome, Briggs astutely probes our hunger for everyday miracles in an age of technology, the Catholic Church’s surprisingly active saint-making operation, and the eternal clash of faith and science.

To read more about The Third Miracle or Bill Briggs please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.

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Publish date: Jan 11, 2011
Added to Scribd: Sep 24, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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08/21/2013

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 Also by Bill Briggs
 Amped: A Soldier’s Race for Gold in the Shadow of War
(coauthor)
 
The Third Miracle
 An Ordinary Man,a Medical Mystery, anda Trial of Faith
 y
Bill Briggs
Broadway BooksNew York

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slvoight_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I received this book as a Goodreads ARC giveaway. This was a great book and I really enjoy it
agnesmack reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Though I grew up in the Catholic church, I don't consider myself a person of faith. I was initially concerned that this book, which is so intertwined with Catholic doctrine, would be chock full of eye-roll inducing leaps in logic. Luckily, that wasn't the case at all.The main plot of the book revolves around one communities quest to have a local nun recognized as a saint. The author did a superb job of mixing the story with the appropriate amount of background. It got extremely in depth – but not so much as to leave the reader confused. I found myself completely captivated and intrigued with the process of having a person canonized.I finished the book feeling as though I'd learned a lot about something I didn't even know I'd wanted to know about – and I enjoyed the process of getting there. It takes a special kind of writer to make this material both accessible and enjoyable and it is apparent that Bill Briggs is exactly that kind of writer.
mckait reviewed this
Rated 4/5
This is the story of the road to sainthood. A young woman, Mother Theodore Guerin and five other youngwomen who set out from France to found a convent for theSisters of Providence in October of 1840. The ocean crossing was very difficult and stormy. They then traveled westward to the shores of Lake Michigan. The woman acquired an old farmhouse and some surrounding acres. From there grew into the convent and school called Saint Mary of the Woods college. Mother Theodore Guerin not only lived an exemplary life, but an inspiring one. So inspiring was it, that in time she was considered for sainthood. This is the story of the journey taken by those in her order and in the Catholic Church to have her canonizedAlthough there is a lot of history and church politics involved in this story, this reads more like a novel than a history. We meet the recipients of miracles performed due to the intercession of Mother Theodore Guerin. Their stories are warm and the people involved are comfortable and pleasant to spend time with. Although I am not a Catholic, I found this to be an intriguing and interesting read. I do not think this is a book for everyone, but despite my lack of participation in the Catholic church, I am very interested in the workings of the Vatican. I enjoyed it, and you might find it interesting as well.
melaniehope reviewed this
Rated 4/5
The Third Miracle is a detailed account of the secretive Catholic saint-making process. In Jan. of 2001 a Baptist handyman named Phil McCord makes an urgent plea to God and Mother Theodore. McCord had suffered for months with a raw, red, damaged eye. His one shot at recovery is an eye transplant which carries with it many possible risks. Full of fear and dread, McCord stops in the convent chapel and offers a spontaneous prayer. When he awakens the next morning, his eye is much better. Over the course of weeks, he is fully recovered. No surgery and something that the doctors can't explain. Was the healing a miracle?Bill Briggs dissects the intricate workings of how a saint is made. I had no idea that this process takes so long and is so involved. I was pretty fascinated by the rules and the steps taken. The fact that two miracles must be proven before a person can become a saint. I did find myself occasionally doing a quick read over some parts that were very detailed, but for the most part, I thought this was an incredible non-fiction work. There were many parts that emphasized the eternal clash of faith and science. I definitely come away from this book having learned so much more about saints and how they come to be. This is a great read whether you are Catholic or not.
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