NEAR the border town of Newry in Northern Ireland, a wide charred mark on the road indicates the spot where a vicious IRA attack took place in the late 1970's resulting in many deaths. Because of this and other acts of violence, Newry today is a sad town.
It wasn't always like that. A new book, Miracles do Happen, already achieving phenomenal success with the religious book buying public, details a silver lining in the recent history of Newry.
In 1960, long before Northern Ireland became synonymous with violence, a small, dumpy 14-year old girl knocked on the door of the local Poor Clare convent and asked to be admitted — not for a day, but forever, as a novice! Her name was Briege McKenna.
After Mother Teresa, Sr Briege McKenna has arguably become one of the world's best known nuns. Sr Briege is different — she believes in miracles! Not miracles in faraway places like Lourdes and Fatima, but miracles for the asking.
It all started in 1970 when her crippling arthritis became life threatening. As her illness grew steadily worse, her only prayer was "Jesus help me". She recalls a December night when "there was a power going through my body. It's difficult to describe the feeling, but I often describe it this way. I felt like a banana being peeled". Sr Briege was healed!
Now the story of her life and her ministry of healing throughout the world makes compelling reading. Miracles do Happen is a spiritual biography that has taken the religious book
reading public by storm, and looks set to break all records in bookstores more used to selling Jeffrey Archer and Dick Francis.
In order to ensure that Miracles do Happen reaches the widest possible readership Veritas publications in Dublin have joined with Pan Books of Britain in a partnership that will make the fascinating story of Sr Briege's life available to millions. Not only that, but Terry Wogan has invited Sr Briege as his guest on Wogan, the to be screened on December 18. Put that date in your diary — you won't be disappointed.
The world has grown a little weary of sophistication and hype. It is looking for the genuine article. Sr Briege McKenna is simplicity and sincerity itself. No airs and graces; no frills. She speaks of Jesus and His healing power as one talks of a friend.
She has prayed with the President of Peru. President Figueiredo of Brazil invited her to supper after she had prayed with him. So impressed was Figueiredo that he insisted that she return and pray with his family. However, it is in counselling and helping priests that Sr Briege feels most empowered by God.
Miracles do Happen by Sr Briege McKenna, with its new Pan/Veritas imprint looks set to become a spiritual classic. Already 25,000 copies have been sold, mainly in Ireland. Now Miracles do Happen will reach into every city and town in Britain, bringing the message of the healing power of Jesus.
Fr Martin Tierney