|Photo of the "bleeding crucifix" in Sonada|
A bishop in eastern India says the “first miracle” in his diocese has strengthened his people’s faith and attracted people of other religions.
“Our people are overjoyed at the first public miracle,” Bishop Stephen Lepcha of Darjeeling told ucanews.com on Nov. 26. “This has strengthened the faith of the people,” he added.
The bishop said the “miracle” occurred Nov. 20 when a priest and two couples preached a retreat for some novices of Claritian congregation at Dirnberger Niketan, Sonada, in West Bengal state.
A crucifix began to bleed when a woman preacher, a recent convert from Islam, prayed in her room in the morning. “Soon other crucifixes, rosaries and a big statue of Mary in the house began to bleed,” the prelate narrated.
Bishop Lepcha said he visited the place the next day and saw the crucifix and the Marian statue. He also met Mary, the Muslim who became a Catholic on Aug. 7.
The prelate quoted the woman from Kerala, southern India, as saying the Blessed Virgin had separate messages for the bishop, priests and people.
While the Blessed Virgin wants everyone to become holy, she promised the prelate “mighty things” in his diocese.
Her message to priests was that they should become conscious of how they celebrate Mass while she wants the public to repent and pray without ceasing.
Bishop Lepcha said when he saw the woman falling into a “trance” he expressed his desire to take the Gospel to Bhutan. The prelate said the woman told him, “I will be there.”
On Nov. 22, the woman’s both hands started bleeding and she screamed with pain. The bishop said when he wiped the blood from her hands with cotton he found no hole in the hands. Then the woman told him that his sins were forgiven when he wiped the blood.
The bishop says hundreds of people, including Hindus, Muslims and Buddhist monks, are flocking to the novitiate.
Salesian Father Martin, local parish priest, said the crucifixes and statue bled for four days. According to him, some 20,000 people have visited the place after the “miracle” was reported.