Her pet had long suffered with gunky eyes—until she gave him some healing water from the sacred Mount Sainte-Odile spring in France.
- Posted on Jul 24, 2020
On the mountainside of Mount Sainte-Odile in Alsace, France, I stopped to catch my breath. My three kids and I had planned to meet here—but they were nowhere in sight. I guess they’d changed their minds and decided to stay back at the abbey. Oh well, I thought. Perhaps expecting teens to be excited about a religious relic was a little ambitious.
It was our last full day in France, and I’d wanted to share this special place with them. I’d learned about Odile, the patron saint of good eyesight and Alsace, when studying abroad in nearby Strasbourg as a teenager. The people who lived there loved telling me the story of how Odile had come across a blind beggar in the wilderness, on this very spot. Tapping a rock, she made water gush forth that restored the beggar’s eyesight.
“You can see the actual spring!” I’d told my kids on the way over. But I could gather now that they hadn’t been as invested as I was in visiting it.
I stepped into the clearing where the spring was. A sense of calm washed over me. Something profound happened here, I thought. I found a spot next to the mossy pool and enjoyed a moment of silence, listening to the water flow. I really wished I could’ve shared this moment with my kids. They’d been excited about seeing the abbey but perhaps not committed enough to visit the spring itself. I didn’t want to be too pushy while encouraging them to delve deeper into their faith. We were Catholic, but I was definitely the most devout in the family. I hoped as they grew older that they’d lean more into their faith.
Lord, please let my children feel your presence.
I uncapped my water bottle and dipped it into the pool, filling it with some of the spring water to take as a souvenir.
When we’d returned home to South Carolina, I carefully unpacked the bottles with the miracle water. I wanted to transfer it to a special container for safekeeping. What about the hand-painted jar my grandparents had given us as a gift years ago?
I walked into the living room, uncorked the jar and poured in as much of the water as it would hold. Hmm, still a bit left. I couldn’t just get rid of it. That would be disrespectful. I looked out onto the back porch and saw that our outdoor cat Martin’s water bowl was empty.
We’d found Martin at a playground one day, lost and alone, a little kitten with gunky eyes. We’d started feeding and taking care of him.
To our delight, Martin survived and thrived as a happy outdoor cat who wandered the neighborhood as he pleased. I took him to the vet, who cleared him for a clean bill of health, save for his gunky eyes. After a few tries with eye drops, we let it go. Martin’s eyes didn’t seem to be bothering him.
I poured the remaining water into his bowl. Why not? He deserved a blessing, and this way, the water wouldn’t go to waste. I got on with the rest of my chores and forgot all about it.
After a week went by, I noticed something strange. Martin’s eyes seemed to be clearing up. No gunk at all. I’d never seen them like this before. How was it possible?
With each passing day that his eyes remained clear, it became more obvious that I’d witnessed something special. Maybe even divine. Still, I doubted the moment stuck with the rest of my family. Two years passed, and Martin’s eyes stayed totally gunk-free. Meanwhile, I noticed our other cat, Mr. Purrkins, whose fur had always been patchy, was getting worse. We took him to the vet. Tried changing his food. Nothing worked.
“What about using some of Saint Odile’s miracle water that you’ve kept in the jar?” my daughter Anna asked one day. “If it worked on Martin, why can’t it work on Mr. Purrkins?”
I couldn’t help but smile. I’d witnessed a miracle, all right. Not as much Martin’s eyes as an answer to the prayer I’d said at the spring years before. Here was one of my kids, feeling God’s presence in her life, just as I’d asked.
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