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The Catholic Church has a long history of investigating and confirming miracles, often as part of the canonization process for saints. Here are ten of the most influential and confirmed Catholic miracles:
- The Miracle of the Sun (1917): Reported by three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, the Miracle of the Sun was witnessed by thousands of people. The sun appeared to change colors, spin, and “dance” in the sky.
- The Incorruptible Saints: There are numerous Catholic saints whose bodies have not decayed after death, contrary to natural processes. St. Bernadette of Lourdes, St. Catherine Laboure, and St. John Vianney are notable examples.
- Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi (1224): St. Francis is the first recorded stigmatic in Christian history. During a retreat on Mount La Verna, he reportedly received the wounds of Christ.
- St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe (1531): St. Juan Diego experienced apparitions of the Virgin Mary on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico. As a sign, roses bloomed out of season, and an image of the Virgin appeared miraculously on his tilma (cloak), which still exists today.
- Healing Miracles of Lourdes: The miraculous spring at the Grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes, France, has been a site of numerous confirmed healings, considered medically inexplicable by the Lourdes Medical Bureau.
- Miracle of Lanciano (8th century): During a Mass in Lanciano, Italy, a doubting priest reportedly saw the bread and wine transform into actual flesh and blood. The relics of this miracle are preserved and have undergone scientific testing.
- Healings by St. Padre Pio: This 20th-century friar bore the stigmata and is associated with numerous healings, conversions, prophecies, and instances of bilocation.
- Miracle of the Eucharistic Fire in Santarem (13th century): A consecrated Host was stolen and then bled when it was pricked. The Host is still preserved in the Church of St. Stephen in Santarem, Portugal.
- The Blood of St. Januarius (Gennaro): The dried blood of St. Januarius, a martyr from the 3rd century, liquifies and bubbles on his feast days in what has become a regularly observed event in Naples, Italy.
- The Vision of St. Teresa of Avila: St. Teresa of Avila experienced numerous mystical visions and ecstasies. In one of her most famous visions, an angel pierced her heart with a fiery spear, leading to an experience of profound divine love.
While these miracles have been accepted by the Church and have deeply influenced Catholic devotion and spirituality, the Church also teaches that faith should not depend solely on miracles. The miracles serve to confirm faith in the Gospel and God’s ongoing action in the world.