Getting married immediately

Bring up the topic of faith healers in any Irish pub and you’ll immediately see a divide that hasn’t been seen since the parting of the Red Sea. You either believe or you don’t. My mother, tired of listening to accounts of various visits to GPs, neurologists, and other ‘alternative’ therapists, decided to take matters relating to my health into her own hands. We were to go see the famous Eddie Stones, in Clonfert, Co. Galway.

Unlike many other Irish healers – Danny Gallagher, Michael O’Connor or Aidan Wrynne – Eddie doesn’t lay claim to being the seventh son of a seventh son. His call was more tangible – Our Lady appeared to him as he was having his tea one night. This apparition was the first of many callings for him to leave his life as a butcher and take up this calling from God. [As I said, you either believe or you don’t.]

Emmanuel House was founded by Michael Cullen, an Irishman who spent time in prison in the USA before being deported. While in prison, he found God and when he came home, he set up the community in Clonfert (the site of the 6th century monastery of St Brendan the Navigator). Eddie and Lucy Stones were drawn to him and took over the ministry when Michael and his wife went back to the States. People come from all over the country to see him, to have him pray over them, to be healed. As reports for these mass gatherings include those who ‘fall’, faint from the experience, I was decidedly curious to see how I’d react.

When we eventually arrived, it was to find a notice to say that the centre was closed for two weeks holiday. Not one so easily deterred, my mother rooted out the man himself and we were sent to wait in the oratory. Some others also driven by blind faith and expectation arrived, too. All told, there were about twelve – so we didn’t get the full treatment. We said the rosary (the five new mysteries of light which can be said on a Thursday) and then heard various accounts of people healed.

Finally we came to the blessings. I was third in line. He took my hand and asked me what was wrong. I said I didn’t know. Pins and needles, exhaustion, lack of focus, and a deep-seated curiosity as to what I was doing in this world. He touched my head and told me my illness was in my brain (which shocked the proverbial out of me – as only the previous week had a systemic inflammation of connective tissue starting in the brain been mooted as a possible diagnosis). He prayed over me and then asked if I was married. I said no. He said: How about immediately, and ten kids! Now believing that would take some measure of faith.

Do I believe that I’ve been cured? Yes. Am I cancelling my MRI booking and my appointment with the neurologist? No. Does this mean that I really don’t believe? Or am I being pragmatic. Some say that faith healing actually risks recovery. I’m resorting to old Irish ‘to be sure, to be sure’. I feel a lot better. I seemed to have turned a corner. My outlook is more positive and there’s a contentment there was wasn’t there before. It could well be the Holy Spirit working through the hands of Eddie Stones. Who knows. But, I tell you, if I meet a widower with ten kids….

12 Responses

  1. Two levels of blogs… I love this blog for the vivid and personal impressions of the places you see, the ideas and thoughts you raise for cogitation (so nice to have things to ponder, not to stew about).

    But even more/just as (can’t figure out which to leave and which to delete) important is finding out personal details about you that I just don’t catch up on in our online relationship.

    How much of blogging is ‘personal’, how much is ‘writing’, how much is ‘unloading your brain’? Why do people read this blog? This is the only blog I read for personal and spiritual value–the others are work or issue related. Why do people read and write blogs?

    1. Hi Ginger… methinks it depends on the blogger. Some blog because they are authorities on a subject (or think they are); or to keep family and friends updated; or because it’s the only avenue they have to speak; or to practice/discipline their writing; or because they like the feedback. Who knows. Andrew Keen calls it the embrace of the self. I started because I needed to write regularly (for me). Then it became a way to share my flat happenings with friends abroad. Then it replaced my monthly mass email update on my travels. Then it became a chat with myself that I chose to share. Then it was an additional outlet for my newspaper column. Now it’s a combination of the three elements you pinpointed – personal, writing, and unloading. As to why people read it? I can’t answer that. I amazes me that I have subscribers I don’t know or have never met. And is there a relationship between the number of readers and the style I use or subject I choose? Can’t say for sure. Bottom line is though, that even if no-one read it, I’d still write it. So I guess that means I do it for me.

      Mary Murphy

  2. 1. The ‘blessing’ cured you, or you were already cured and Eddie told you about it?
    2. How does this belief system work? How can you be sure you are cured, but not be sure you are going to meet the re-incarnation of my father (a hard-working genius romantic with 10 kids, never a widower)?
    3. I hope you are cured. But like Peter, I have my fingers crossed, which means we are not sure either. Does our scepticism affect your health and cure? Does your belief affect it?

    1. Hi Ginger 1. The blessing cured me 2. He’s a healer not a fortune teller! I made up the widower part as I doubt there’s a man alive with sole custody of 10 kids, but I could be wrong! 3. Your scepticism has no affect at all. ‘Tis my brain, my belief. You have to believe, to have faith, for it to work. And strangely I do. I gave up long ago needing to have answers for everything.

      Mary Murphy

  3. Hi Mary, you make me want to be there with you, i am awaiting with abated breath to get to the bottom of the hill, mind you i am actually wondering ‘and how are we going to get back up again?’. I have smiled and laughed and actually visualised the whole trip. Your writing captures the moment, but are you capturing the moment as you walk, or are you thinking about the experience after you get home over a cup of tea? I can actually visualise a little Mary with big trekking shoes trudging down the hill – but is she actually smiling? Or is it an after thought – how funny the experience was, but was it at the time? That leads me to the faith healing …….. more to follow

  4. Faith healing, positive thinking, making up ‘your mind’ , ‘it’s all in the mind’, i tend to go with the ‘all in the mind’. Can we make a decision and live up to that decision? Does the mind really want to make that decision?, if so, then the battle is won. We can do so much with ourselves if ‘our mind’ is set to accomplish. Being a positive person, that is 75% of the battle, the other 25% is believing that which we are being positive about. Do we need somebody to tell us or confirm to us that all is going to be well? Or can we also call it self healing, where we can tell ourselves?
    When i moved into this small house after the mass exodus of the boys, i was so deflated by the move. The dogs were sprawled all over the place, their baskets, their mats, their bowls, and i thought i was going to have a depression. Then one fine day i said to myself, ‘this is what you have’ make the most of it, look at the bright side of this move, you don’t have to clean all week, rather than have dogs sprawling around the house, i can take them for more walks (i don’t have to clean) the advantages far out number the disadvantages, or was that a decision that i had made, not to count any more disadvantages.
    Whether it be faith healing or self healing, main thing is that you believe in whatever you know will be the right decision for you.
    Marriage immediately – well, maybe follow the instructions above, is it really what is good for you, or do you live with what you have (a fantastic life, free as a bird) should the opportunity arise and you meet your soul partner then you have to make another decision, do i really want 10 kids 🙂

    1. The main thing is that you believe in whatever you know will be the right decision for you – so true Sylvana. As for the 10 kids… am way past my ‘sell-by’ date. But an interesting thought – do I live with what I have? Will ponder. Thanks.

  5. I think that some people can convince themselves of anything if its to do with self preservation.Why should one person be cured while another is left to suffer on? What sort of compassion is that?
    I have no time for this carry on,when I hear about these people the first thing I ask is ‘is there money involved?’and I know that in every case the answer is Yes .What sort of God would cure some and leave others perhaps more deserving of a cure.
    I can understand people going for a cure,having possibly tried everything else ie orthodox medicine,and this is where these guys win,any port in a storm,grasp any straw that might give hope.These guys are in it for the money and prey on the vulnerable and they are expert at it.
    It has been proven that positive thinking can improve ones chances in everything so therefore if someone who is a good con man/woman tells you that you’ll get better through his inside track with Providence then you could very well believe them.
    I’ve said enough,have faith in orthodox medicine which can’t or will never cure everything but at least it stands up to scrutiny and is answerable and cannot give false promises .This faith healing crack is a money making racket,all you need is a thick neck,perhaps have a vision,no training,come from a poor background,gift of the gab and claim a few cures,Your now away with it and in the money.
    Good luck with that!

    1. As I said, Gerry, each to their own. The main is a strange organ and faith even stranger. PS never did meet that widower with ten kids 🙂

      1. Mary,forget about the widower with ten kids,she probably died from over exhaustion or childbirth and he’s probably worn out as well.
        Glad to see that it worked for you and long may it continue.My concern is the way these guys operate and target the vulnerable and relieve them of their few bob because their backs are against the wall.
        One particular so called group of faith healers ie ‘spinologists’,I think should be outlawed for the reason that they mess around with ‘patients’ backs and then say a prayer.This is a dangerous practice especially as the ‘patient’ may have brittle bones(osteosclerosis)and end up in a wheelchair.
        I continue to be amazed at the amount of people who go to these people especially when there has been so many studies done showing that there was no difference in the ‘cure’ rates conducted by pretend practicioners and the real ones,conducted under controlled testing.If there was any chance that this sort of stuff actually worked sure the medical industry would have latched on straight belief is science and it has to stand up to scrutiny.No point in believing in something that is as vague as faith healing.
        But Mary never mind me,there are millions who wouldn’t agree with me,and good luck to them ,we are all different and that’s a good job too as if we were all the same it would be queer indeed.
        Finally I don’t think widowers with ten children exist anymore,Do they?

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