January 9th 2004 the following article appeared in Katholiek
Nieuwsblad, a Dutch Catholic newspaper. We are indebted to Joob
for his translation into English. In the article Blessed Charles is
called by his name in Holland 'Karel'. Munstergeleen is the town
in which Blessed Karel was born and is situated in the province of
in suspense after "miracle",
by Jan Peeters. (translated by Joop Bekkers)
topsy-turvy the past
few days. Two high Roman deputies
visited the place in
view of the
Karel Houben (1821-
(which meanwhile is
called the "miracle
is the miraculous
cure of Dolf
Dormans (age 77),
who had been told
in 1999 that he had only a few more hours to live. But Dormans is still
alive to tell the
years ago Dormans got a stomach-ache which he at first ascribed to the
raging gastroenteritis. After he had been taken to hospital because of
they found his bowels had been irreparably damaged. No medical help was
avail, and he was told he had only a more few hours to live. He got reconciled
fate, said goodbye to his wife and children, was given the Last Sacraments
into a coma.
he awoke 24 hours later the pain was gone and, against all expectation,
process of recovery had started. Within one year he was his old self again.
says his cure is a miracle. He told De
Limburger (a newspaper) that when in hospital he had
prayed to Father Karel Houben daily. Dormans is
distantly related to the priest, who had been born at
Munstergeleen and was beatified in 1988. "I have got
great confidence in the father. Whenever somebody is
ill we light a candle in Karel's chapel. When in hospital
I prayed the rosary many times. And in bed there was
always a relic, a bit of the Father's coffin."
a miracle cannot be called a miracle in the Church
before it has been officially recognized. The diocese
established a "tribunal" that collected and judged all
facts and testimonies. In February last year the diocesan
examination was finished and presented to the nuncio.
However, what should have been a special occasion became a drama. Dormans's
parish priest, another priest and Father Joachim van der Heijden C.P.
were driving to
The Hague when they got into a traffic queue and were hit by a car behind
Father Van der Heijden was wounded so badly that for three months he was
critical condition - while that day was supposed to have been a feast-day.
postulator he had done all preparatory work for many years for the beatification
canonization. But last Monday (January 5,2004 - note translator) he was
present at the
commemoration of the 111th anniversary of Father Karel's death. In his
concelebrated Holy Mass with two fellow -Passionists from Rome.
The Roman delegation consisted of the postulator, Father Giovanni Zubiani,
Father Salvatoire Enzo del Brocco, secretary to the Superior General of
Passionists. They had come to the Netherlands , not only to celebrate
anniversary, but also to size up the devotion in our country.
this devotion is considered an important factor in processes of beatification
canonization. In this regard Blessed Father Karel has created quiet a
stir: there is a
frequent stream of visitors to his chapel and his native house. "There
is a gigantic
devotion", says Father Broers, the parish-priest. "An average
of 100,000 candles a year
are lit. And not even all visitors light a candle. One is never alone
Father Broers himself was a member of the tribunal of
examination. As Dormans had to be given the last
Sacraments in a hurry he could not do so himself. "I
saw him, shortly afterwards. He was really dying."
Officially Broers is not allowed to speak about "a
miracle". "We have to call it an "alleged" miracle
long as it has not been recognized as such by the
Congregation of Canonizations. Of course the family
may call it a miracle." Personally Broers is "convinced
that the cure took place at Father Karel's intercession.
Even if Rome cannot recognize this for a hundred
Many Limburg people have the same conviction and
some speak about "their" Saint. Last Monday there was
a massive turn-out to the festive celebration in St. Pancratius Church.
held a sermon that had been translated into Dutch. He emphasized how simple
Blessed Father from Munstergeleen was, who when a child was considered
stupid. "Can there come anything good from Munstergeleen?",
he wondered. He
emphasized that this stupid boy, who during his whole priestly life stayed
and Ireland without ever mastering the language, has comforted thousands
by word and deed. You too can grow to be such a special person, Father
told the faithful.