“I smelled a strong and very sweet perfume. I felt then a strength pass through me, from one end to the other, not a heat but a strength, a force. The unused muscles in my legs were a cross current of life.”
Pascale Gryson-Selmeci, from Walloon Brabant, Belgium, a wife and mother, testifies of her healing that occurred in Medjugorje August 3, 2012, during Holy Mass.
She suffered from leukoencephalopathy, a rare and incurable disease with symptoms similar to Multiple Sclerosis. She was on a pilgrimage during the youth festival, Mladifest, in July, 2012. Members of her pilgrimage, including the group leader Patrick d’Ursel, witnessed the miracle.
Pascale had been painfully ill for 14 years. After receiving Holy Communion that day, Pascale felt a force. To the surprise of her husband and relatives, she began to speak and rise out of her chair! Patrick d’Ursel recollects Pascale’s testimony.
“My healing, I had asked for it a long time ago. You should know I’d been sick for more than 14 years. I had always been a believer, a deep believer, engaged in the service of the Lord all my life. When the first symptoms of the illness manifested themselves, those first years, I asked, I begged. People in my family also prayed for my intention and the answer didn’t come, at least what I expected—but there were other answers. At a given moment, I told myself that without a doubt, the Lord was preparing me for something else. The first responses that I got were graces to carry this disease, graces of power, graces of joy. Not a continual joy, but in any case, a profound joy, deeper in my soul, the place in the soul which even in moments of great distress are still inhabited by the joy of God. I believe firmly that the hand of God has always been placed on me. I never doubted either, of His love for me, despite this disease that could cast doubt on God’s love for us.
Some months ago my husband David and I had felt an urgent call to go to Medjugorje without knowing what Mary was preparing us for, like an absolutely irresistible attraction. This great call surprised me, especially the fact that we would both sensed the same intensity. Our children by contrast stayed totally indifferent, revolted as they were by my disease, revolted against God. They asked me with insistence why God offered healing to certain people and not to others. My daughter said to me, “Mom, why don’t you pray for your own healing?” But me, I had accepted this disease like a gift from God, after years on the path of the journey.
I would like to share with you all that which this disease brings to me. I think that I would not have been the person that I am now, thanks to the disease. I was a person very sure of myself; the Lord had given me gifts. I was a brilliant artist, very proud; I had studied the art of speech and my education had been easy and extraordinary. In short, I think this disease opened my heart and enlightened, cleared my eyes view of life. Because it’s a disease that affects all there is, I truly lost everything. I reached rock bottom, physically and spiritually. As far as psychologically, I could experiment and comprehend in my heart that which others experienced. The disease opened my heart and my eyes; I think I was blind and now I can see what others are able to live with; I love them; I want to help them; I want to be at their side. I was also able to discover the wealth and the beauty of the relationship with another. My relationships have deepened more than we could have hoped for.
Shortly before departing for the pilgrimage, we decided to bring our children. Then I told my daughter to pray for my healing not because I had the desire but because she wanted it. I encouraged her, together with my son, to ask themselves this grace for their mom and they overcame their difficulties to believe and resist.
On our part, for my husband and I, this trip was an unimaginable challenge. Leaving with two wheelchairs; not being able to stay seated, a wheelchair as reclined as possible was necessary; we rented one; we had a crappy car; arms were put upon again and again to carry me, take me out and put me in.
I will never forget that solidarity for me, was the biggest sign that God exists. For all those who helped me, I’m unable to speak, for the hospitality that I received from the organizers, for each person who made a single gesture on my behalf, I beg our Lady to accord a special and maternal blessing a hundredfold of the good they brought me.
My greatest wish was to attend an apparition of Mary to Mirjana. Our guide agreed to take my husband and me there. Again, I lived a grace that I’m not ready to forget. Several people carried me in my stretcher chair through a dense crowd, defying impossible laws for me to be able to join at the same place, the small altar that receives Mary’s apparition (…). A religious missionary spoke to my husband and I, repeating the message that Mary had given, especially for the sick. (…)
The next day, Friday August 3rd, my husband left in the morning for the Stations of the Cross. It was very hot and my greatest dream was to accompany him. But there was no carrier available and my state was really difficult to support. It was preferable for me to stay in my bed… I will remember this day as one of the most painful in all my disease… I had to seek inspiration for every breath. My husband being away with my consent, I never would have wanted he leave me there. I knew I hadn’t drank or ate anything or taken my medication. I was pinned down to my bed; I didn’t even have the strength to pray, just face to face with the Lord.
My husband returned very happy, deeply touched by the liveliness of the Stations of the Cross. Full of compassion towards me, without me explaining anything, he understood that the Way of the Cross had taken place for me in my bed.
At the end of the day, despite fatigue and exhaustion, Pascale and her husband went to Holy Mass. She continues:
I left with a respirator, so the weight of this several pound unit on my knees become unbearable. We arrived late… I daresay at the proclamation of the Gospel. (…). At our arrival, I began to implore the Holy Spirit in a joy that I cannot express. I asked Him to take possession of all my being. I expressed to Him my renewed desire to belong to Him, body, soul, and spirit. The celebration (of the Mass) continued until Communion, which I awaited intensely. My husband led me to the line at the back of the church. One priest crossed through the aisle with the Body of Christ. He directed himself immediately toward my husband and me, passing by all the other people waiting. We took Communion, both alone in this moment in the line. We distanced ourselves to make room for other communicants and began our thanksgiving. I smelled a strong and very sweet perfume. I felt then a strength pass through me, from one end to the other, not a heat but a strength, a force. The unused muscles in my legs were a cross current of life. I then said to God “Father, Son, Holy Spirit, if you are doing what I think you’re doing, to perform this unthinkable miracle, then I ask you for a sign and a grace: Allow me to communicate with my husband.” I turned around toward my husband and I said to him “Do you smell that perfume?” He responded to me, so naturally, “No, I’ve got a bit of a stuffy nose!” I say ‘naturally’ because he had not heard my voice in a year! To wake him up, I said to him “Eh! I speak! Are you hearing me?” Then, I knew that God had realized his work and in an act of faith, I got my feet off my wheelchair and I stood up. All the people who surrounded us realized what was happening at that moment. In the days that followed, my condition improved by the hour. I have no desire to stop and sleep and the pain due to my illness gave way to soreness from physical exertion that had been impossible for me for 7 years…
“How did your children take the news?” asks Patrick d’Ursel. Pascale responds:
I think that the children are very happy but you have to realize they practically only knew me sick and this change is going to take some getting used to, a period of adjustment.
Patrick d’Ursel: What do you wish to do now with your life?
That’s a very difficult question because when God offers a grace, it’s truly an enormous grace. My greatest wish, and also that of my husband, is to witness faithfully to the Lord, of His grace, and as much as we are capable to not betray Him. To be truly authentic, that which seems clear to me now, it’s that I am going to finally be able to assume responsibility in my life as mother and wife. It is priority. My deep longing is also to be able to lead a life of prayer, similar to this earthly and incarnate life; a life of contemplation. I would like also to be able to respond to all the people who ask me for help, whatever it may be. And also, to witness to the Love of God in our life. It is possible that other activities are clear to me now but I do not want to make any decision without careful discernment and enlightenment by the help of a spiritual counselor, in the sight of God.
Patrick d’Ursel specifies: “Pascale can also experience a relapse that has already been seen. It is also necessary to think to be prudent like the Church asks of us.”