|Audrey Marie Santo
The Girl who Makes Miracles
Audrey Marie Santo (December 19th, 1983 - April 14th, 2007), often referred to as Little Audrey by pilgrims to her home, was an American young woman from Worcester, Massachusetts through whom miracles were said to have happened during her lifetime.
At the age of 3 Audrey Marie Santo fell into the family swimming pool and, following doctors botched attempts to revive her, fell into a coma-like state referred to as ‘akinetic mutism’.
Audrey had been brought up a Catholic and in her bedroom there are numerous icons and statues of the saints and the Virgin. On her return from hospital the statues began to weep and the stigmata appeared on her body.
On August 9, 1987, when Audrey was three years old. She was playing in the driveway with Stephen, her brother. It was on this day that Audrey fell into the family swimming pool.
Audrey recovered but was rushed to the hospital where she was overmedicated. The doctor prescribed too much phenobarbital, and Audrey lapsed into a coma. Audrey was in a coma for about three weeks.
The hospital’s physical therapist broke Audrey’s legs and dislocated her shoulder. Then the doctor insisted on insertion of a tracheotomy tube. She remained in ICU with 24-hour nursing care. She was out of the coma in three weeks.
She remained in a state called Akinetic Mutism — non-speaking and limited movement. The "professionals" insisted that Audrey be placed in an institution. Audrey’s mother Linda, felt that she would receive better care being home with her family.
So in November four months following the accident, Audrey was brought home.Shortly after the accident, Linda took Audrey to Međugorje, a popular pilgrimage site in the then Yugoslavia, where the Virgin Mary is said to appear to six visionaries since 1981.
Audrey was present at one of the alleged apparitions; she seemed to be aware, and nodded her head as if to say 'yes'. Linda states that Audrey communicated directly with the Virgin Mary and agreed to become a victim soul.
In Catholic popular spirituality, a "victim soul" is someone who willingly takes on the suffering of others. Audrey subsequently went into cardiac arrest and almost died, requiring a medical evacuation back to the United States.
Rather than assuming that Audrey's health simply was not up to the strain of that much travel, her mother interpreted the child's heart failure as having to do with the fact that the apparition site was close to "the biggest abortion clinic in Yugoslavia".
Since her visit to Međugorje, numerous miracles were purported to have occurred in Audrey's bedroom and within the house.It has also been claimed that Audrey sometimes bore the stigmata. The claimed miracles in Audrey's home included icons weeping blood or oil, a bleeding statue of Jesus, consecrated hosts bleeding, blood appearing spontaneously in a tabernacle, oil dripping down the walls of the garage, and the Virgin Mary appearing in cloud formations overhead.
Many miraculous healings were attributed to Audrey as well. Many people with various diseases or injuries claim to have been cured either by visiting Audrey's house or by intercessory prayer offered by others at Audrey's house. For example, Sheryle Parolisi of Methuen, Massachusetts, says she prayed at Audrey's bedside for the recovery of her son Joey, who had been injured in a motorcycle accident.
She reports that, on returning home, Joey met her at the door without the crutches or cane which he had needed to help him walk since the accident. He told her that he "just had a feeling that he could walk".
Stigmata are bodily marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus, such as the hands and feet. In some cases, rope marks on the wrists have accompanied the wounds on the hands.
However, Joey's personal physician has stated that there was a 75 percent chance from the beginning that he would be able to walk again.
Promoters of sainthood for Audrey have alleged the following: As of 1999, Audrey showed no visible bedsores despite having been in bed for 12 years. Either none were reported, or the assiduous care she received at home prevented them.
She was arguably receiving a great deal more personal attention than she would in a medical facility.Her mechanical respirator occasionally stopped, as did the flow in her feeding tube.
Believers stated that Audrey voluntarily controlled these devices through telekinesis because she made a deliberate decision to fast for a period of time. Audrey's devotees have not put forth any evidence, empirical or scriptural, for such powers.
During her life, Audrey's house became a pilgrimage site. The home was remodeled for this purpose and a large window installed in Audrey's bedroom so that visitors could view her as they passed by. This was removed at the request of the Church.
Audrey Santo died from cardio-respiratory failure on April 14, 2007 in her home. Family, friends, and clergy were at her side. The vigil was held April 17, 2007 and the funeral mass on April 18, 2007, both at St. Paul's Cathedral in Worcester, Massachusetts.
The public was allowed to attend these two events, but the burial was private.