Faith and sainthood .. who dunnit?Aiea, Hawaii. When cancer spread into her lungs, doctors told Audrey Toguchi she had six months to live and suggested chemotherapy as the only option. Toguchi, however, turned to another source: a Catholic missionary who died more than a century ago. "I'm going to Molokai to pray to Father Damien," Toguchi told Dr. Walter Y.M. Chang after hearing her death sentence. "Mrs. Taguchi, prayers are nice and its probably very helpful, but you still need chemotherapy," said Chang. Defying Chang and the pleas of her husband and two sons, Toguchi caught a flight from Honolulu to the remote peninsula of Kalaupapa to pray at the grave of the priest who had ministered to people with leprosy, until he too caught it and died in 1889. "Dear Lord, you're the one who created my body, so I know you can fix it." Toguchi prayed. "I put my whole faith in you ... Father Damien, please pray for me too because I need your help." On a doctor's visit on Oct. 2, 1998, a month after cancer was detected in her lungs, doctors expected the tumors to have grown. Instead they had shrunk, and by May 1999 tests confirmed that they had disappeared without treatment. The Vatican conducted an extensive review and concluded Toguchi's recovery defied medical explanation. On July 3, Pope Benedict XVI agreed and approved the case as Damien's second miracle, opening the way for the Belgian priest to be declared a saint.
Jaymes Song: Associated Press . Rocky Mt. News, August 10, 2008
Photo: kalalau Valley: Holger Leue