Miracle of Jeanne Jugan

Miracle of Jeanne Jugan

The promulgation of the decree of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, authorized by Pope Benedict XVI, acknowledging the miracle through the intercession of Blessed Jeanne Jugan (Sister Mary of the Cross) was signed on 6th December 2008.

The following is the account of that miracle:

Cure of Doctor Edward Erwin GATZ
of an Adenocarcinoma of the Oesophagus


Doctor Edward GATZ is a retired anaesthetist who lives in Omaha, Nebraska, in the United States of America. He was born on 19th April 1937 in O’Neil, Nebraska.

At the age of 51 he began to feel dyspeptic (digestive) problems with a loss of weight and the appearance of growths on his hands. The diagnosis was interpreted as a paraneoplastic syndrome due to an occult cancer.

An endoscopy on 9th January 1989 revealed the presence of a cancerous lesion in the lower part of the oesophagus. Dr Gatz was hospitalised at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and had surgery on 18th January 1989 for a partial oesophago-gastrectomy. The biopsy showed a 3rd degree adenocarcinoma, and the examination specified that there was an aneuploid tumour. Doctor Gatz was advised to have chemotherapy but he refused. He also refused to have radiotherapy.

On the day that Dr Gatz’ cancer was diagnosed his wife spoke with a priest, Fr Richard D McGloin SJ to tell him about her husband’s illness and to seek some consolation. This priest encouraged Mrs Gatz to pray, and gave her the novena prayer to Blessed Jeanne Jugan, whom he knew through the Little Sisters of the Poor, since he had formerly been their chaplain at their Home in Milwaukee, and whom he held in veneration. Along with him, Mrs Gatz began to pray to Jeanne Jugan every day, even after the check-up on 8th March.

In fact, the first endoscopic examination took place on 8th March 1989. The biopsy showed the presence of chronic gastritis, but no signs of recurrence of the tumour.
All the doctors had agreed that Dr Gatz would not live more than “six to thirteen months”. Yet he is still alive and well today and plans to attend the canonization ceremony on 11th October with his wife.