The Brazilian man who received the miracle allowing for Mother Teresa’s canonization shared his story, saying he and his wife were ordinary believers who received an extraordinary sign of God’s mercy.
“From the beginning, the diagnoses weren’t good and they seemed only worse. (But) from that moment, inside this great suffering, we understood that something had happened,” Marcilio Haddad Andrino said of his miraculous healing.
“I was sure that it was Mother Teresa who healed me.”
Andrino, who comes from Santos, Brazil, was healed through the intercession of Mother Teresa – the miracle that paved the way for her canonization on Sept. 4, 2016.
He spoke with journalists during the Aug. 19-25, 2016 annual Rimini Meeting in Italy alongside his wife Fernanda, who each shared their own perspective of Marcilio’s illness and miraculous healing.
Fernanda, sharing her perspective of her husband’s long, drawn-out illness, explained that Marcilio had been sick for two years and had seen countless doctors, but with no diagnosis.
“It was a wait full of anguish, because he was very sick for two years and we didn’t know what was wrong,” she said, explaining that the first attempt for treatment “was unsuccessful. So the doctor changed therapy, but Marcilio continued to deteriorate.”
She recalled how it wasn’t until Marcilio was hospitalized in October 2008 that they finally received their answer.
After running a series of tests “the doctor looked at the exam and, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, understood that Marcilio had eight brain abscesses,” she said.
“We always prayed to Mother Teresa,” she said, noting that her parish priest had given her a relic of Mother Teresa before the couple got married.
“I put the relic on Marcilio’s head, where he had the abscesses. I recited the prayer of beatification and also what came from my heart,” she said, noting that “it wasn’t easy, but this period enriched me a lot, it enriched our love, our faith … today I can say it was worth it.”
Marcilio, speaking of the moment he was healed, said he woke up Dec. 9, 2008, just a few months after he was diagnosed, with an “unbearable” headache that left him unable to speak, and asked his wife to pray for him.
“From that moment many doctors came to visit me and found that my situation was very serious,” he said, explaining that he was eventually taken to the hospital and prepped for surgery.
However, Marcilio said he never made it in. Instead, he awoke inside the operating room with “a great peace inside me and I no longer had the headache. I didn’t understand what was happening to me.”
The doctors, he said, told him that since he was feeling better they were going to move him to intensive care and put off the surgery until the next day.
Marcilio said he slept through the night without any problems, and that when he met with the doctor the next day, was told to return to his room if the headache still hadn’t come back.
Upon returning to the room “I learned that the abscesses were greatly reduced, just as the hydrocephalus,” Marcilio said, referring to the medical term for the abnormal build-up of fluid in the skull, causing the brain to swell.
“The abscesses were reduced by 70% and the hydrocephalus had disappeared,” he said, explaining that after another three days of testing “not even the scars of the abscesses were visible.”
“At that time I discovered that I was cured,” he said, noting that he was able to return home for Christmas.
Fernanda, recounting her experience of the event, said that when she returned to the hospital with Marcilio’s parents the day after he was admitted, the doctors told her he was stable and had returned to his room, instead of going into surgery.
“(The doctor) didn’t tell me that he was cured but I already knew it strongly from what I had prayed to God through the intercession of Mother Teresa,” she said, adding that when she went to Marcilio’s room and saw him sitting up and speaking, “I understood that Mother Teresa had healed him.”
She said Marcilio was “very surprised” by what happened and attributed the fact that he was feeling better to one of the antibiotics he took after being admitted.
However, the doctor, Fernanda recalled, told them that “No antibiotic exists that takes effect immediately, the day after … someone up there loves you a lot.”
Marcilio explained that after leaving the hospital, he and Fernanda spoke with their parish priest about what had happened. The priest, who had accompanied the couple throughout Marcilio’s illness and who had given him last rites, told them to write to the Missionaries of Charity explaining what happened.
“My case was a very difficult one clinically,” Marcilio said, explaining that his wife prayed for him “ceaselessly,” and they were certain “that a miracle happened … I was sure that it was Mother Teresa who healed me.”
He noted that the miracle didn’t just heal his brain, but went a step further.
“When I began to feel sick, Fernanda and I had been recently married,” he said, explaining that the doctor gave them the grim news that they would never be able to have children due to the treatments Marcilio would have to undergo.
Although devastated, the couple accepted it, telling themselves that “if God wants it, we will have children.”
Six months after his healing, the couple moved to Rio de Janiero and Marcilio returned to work. It was around the same time Fernanda began to experience nausea.
When the doctor told them she was pregnant, Marcilio said they didn’t initially believe it, but that after having some tests, they confirmed that “the child was there.”
Marcilio said his life has significantly changed since receiving the miracle: “My faith has grown a lot, I see the grace. I was sick, I couldn’t walk, I always had to be helped. Today I walk, I have a family, and I’m very grateful.”
Having been young when Mother Teresa was alive, Marcilio said he knew her story generally like everyone else, but only began to study her life in depth after he was healed.
Now, eight years after the miracle, he and Fernanda continue to carry their relic of Mother Teresa everywhere they go, and pray to her with their children.
“When I see my children, I see Mother Teresa. This miracle has made my family stronger and more unified,” he said, explaining that his children know everything about his illness and healing.
“They always accompany us and, when we go to the sisters to pray, they understand everything and they pray with us.”
Although he was Catholic before his illness, Marcilio said his faith has grown since his healing, and now he is convinced that miracles exist.
“Mother Teresa’s message is that the mercy of God is for everyone,” he said, noting that he and Fernanda are just “normal people” like everyone else.
“God chooses those who make his mercy known so as to reach everyone, as in the case of Mother Teresa, who cured everyone without distinction,” he said, expressing his hope that her canonization “teaches all peoples to have compassion on each other.”
While he is one of the few to experience a miracle such as this, Marcilio stressed that “God’ mercy is for everyone. I received this miracle, but God also chooses you. We are all chosen.”
Fernanda, for her part, said she feels an “enormous gratitude” whenever she sees Marcilio and their children.
“I thank God and Mother Teresa each time I look at them, each time I see them, my gratitude grows,” she said, expressing her confidence that “all the prayers were heard by God” and that “he always gives us his love.”
“On the day of the canonization, I think I won’t have the right to ask anything more of God: I can only be grateful.”