Monday, October 18, 2010

How an atheist came to believe in miracles

Globe and Mail:

Her canonization adventure began in 1987, after she wrote her dissertation on the invention of the stethoscope. A fellow hematologist in Ottawa asked her to cast her professional eye over 400 bone marrow slides from a leukemia victim. Dr. Duffin knew nothing else about the case – it was a “blind” review – and assumed her report would be used in a medical lawsuit.

After examining the first few slides, she concluded three things: That the samples were from a woman, that she had myeloblastic leukemia, the most aggressive type known, and that she, poor thing, was dead. But as she delved into the whole range of samples, covering 18 months, a highly unusual pattern emerged. “It was treatment, remission, relapse, then remission, remission, remission,” she said.

Dr. Duffin’s report could offer no reason for the remission and she jokingly suggested that it was a miracle. She later found out that the patient had survived and that – no joke – her examination was done on behalf of the Vatican miracles-screening team.

The Church is so thorough in her investigation of miraculous cures for canonization that she only picks the ones capable of convincing skeptics.