Stories of Joy - No. 15 - Sister Josaphata remembered — fame of sanctity — miracles and graces

In Ukraine — USA — Poland — Canada — Brazil — England

“My mother dressed me for church and said: Run, run, your Sister is waiting for you. When I ran up the children were already lined up to go inside. She caught me, embraced me and kissed me. She took me by the hand and I walked with her. In church I sat by her because I was the smallest.” The little girl became a Sister and was now a respected senior and bursting with joy, as she told the visiting General Superior that she remembers Josaphata who always took the children to church on Sundays and they all sang with her. “After church everyone got a candy from her big pocket.” Ukraine had just regained its freedom in the 1990’s and every story the General Superior heard brought Josaphata closer and closer to the hearts of all the Sisters Servants. Her relics were now in the chapel of the SSMI Generalate in Rome since 1982.

The official opening of the process for beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Josaphata took place in the Eparchy of Przemysl, Poland, in 1992, witnessing to her holiness and absolute ministry to her needy people. The little girl story added sacredness to the moment. It was now also possible to share Sister Josaphata’s life story everywhere, and in return, to receive many stories of graces received, when praying through her intercession. What a surprise it was to receive a letter from the Sisters in Philadelphia, USA, witnessing to Josaphata’s intercession for health for a benefactor, as early as 1957. This is how the letter read:

In 1957 Mr. Semtmen, our benefactor in Philadelphia (who cultivated roses) suddenly became ill and was taken unconscious to the hospital. His wife notified us, and two Sisters went to visit him. They met the doctor coming from Mr. Semtmen’s room; he told them that the patient’s situation was very grave. “Pray for a miracle,” he said. At home, the Sisters started a novena through the intercession of Sister Josaphata. When we went to see him again, he was sitting in bed, beaming with joy, ready to go home. He said that during the night, one of our Sisters came to see him, touched him on the shoulder, and he immediately felt well. We knew that nobody from our house had gone to see him, less so at night. We thought he was hallucinating. A week later he came to our place, and seeing the large photograph of Sister Josaphata, in the entrance, exclaimed: “This Sister came to visit me during the night and she cured me.” For the next 10 years or so, every Saturday, he sent roses for our chapel in gratitude for his healing through the intercession of Sister Josaphata.

The graces that were being received were many and varied: a malignant growth, the size of a large blue bean, on a Sister’s cheek, which the doctors for 20 years refused to touch, after a novena of prayers to Josaphata, disappeared in one week, leaving only a very faint mark, perhaps to remind us of her intercessory power; a mother’s heart, breaking, because of her son who was leaving his wife and two small children, and no amount of tears or pleading could dissuade him, suddenly admits his error and asks forgiveness — they had fervently sought Josaphata’s intercession; a dairy farmer in USA, who prayed that the cancer on the ear of one of his cows would be cured received the grace; an aviation company completely devastated by 9/11 and whose owner’s registration was to expire in 24 hours prayed with his wife for a miracle — that day he received a call from Boeing, asking their company to do a project for them; a woman who had not been able to carry children to term in all her three pregnancies, and finding herself pregnant again, entrusted this one to Josaphata — when all signs showed she would fare no better this time she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, whom she named Josaphata; and the list goes on. Recently the Sisters received very many testimonies from childless couples who prayed to her, and in all cases were later blessed with a family. The joy in these letters is so evident and the thanks so sincere. In fact, more and more parents are entrusting their children to Blessed Josaphata’s protection. Here is a letter from a mother in Toronto about her relationship with Josaphata. Notice the great faith she and her husband had, that Josaphata would help them. The mother is a nurse in St. Joseph’s Hospital in the city.

From the Sisters at 5 Austin Terrace (Toronto) I first learned about Blessed Josaphata; I read about her. When my first daughter Anna was born (she is now 11 years old), she was diagnosed with kidney reflex which would require her to be on antibiotic therapy for the first seven years of her life, consuming pills daily, and also undergoing surgery. With great faith and complete trust, I began to pray for the intercession of Blessed Josaphata, also arranging for Divine Liturgies to be offered for this intention. My husband and I firmly decided not to give her the prescribed pills every day because she had lost her appetite and ate very poorly. Our family doctor was very surprised over our decision, giving me a look as if I were out of my mind for not listening to her advice. But I had complete trust in God that He would help me. And the miracle happened! Blessed Josaphata not only helped me, but she very quickly answered my petition for a healing for my child. When we went for a check-up at St. Joseph’s Hospital, the ultrasound revealed that all was in order. We did not need to proceed to any other tests. And from that time, she never suffered from urinary tract infections, which she earlier had very frequently. Praise God! Blessed Josaphata so quickly and so graciously answered our prayers, and obtained from Almighty God the grace of healing. I feel her perpetual protection over me and my family. I named my third daughter Josaphata, in thanksgiving for such great graces. I have no words to totally express how Blessed Josaphata continues to care for my children, especially for that youngest one. I tell her — she is your “godmother in heaven”, and protects you always.

In Brazil a woman, severely injured in a car accident, remained in coma for several weeks. The daughter and friends prayed fervently to Josaphata, however,

“... one day the doctor called the daughter to inform her that all life supports would be discontinued at 5:00 P.M. At 4:00 P.M. I started to move my finger, and at 4:45 I began to speak. My daughter told me of their prayers to Josaphata and now she has become my very good friend in heaven.”

From England a bishop wrote:

Please send me a small relic of Blessed Josaphata for my cathedral. I have read her biography and have been strongly impressed by her genuine simplicity and her everyday practice of virtue. I think we should acquaint our faithful with such everyday saints.

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