Dafne Gutierrez, a 30 year old blind Hispanic American woman, mother of three children, who had lost her eyesight to Arnold-Chiari malformation has been healed in Phoenix, America by St Charbel the day after she visited St Charbel’s holy relic at St Joseph’s Maronite Catholic Church in Phoenix, America.
Phoenix is a city with a large Lebanese community, mostly Maronite Catholics with the local Maronite church is dedicated to St Joseph and Masses are celebrated in three languages: Arabic, Spanish and English. St Joseph’s Maronite Catholic Church is the hub of one of the 36 Maronite parishes in the United States, divided between the two big dioceses of New York and Los Angeles.
The relic of St Charbel, which has toured various parishes since early October 2015, consists of St Charbel’s bone which is kept in a cedar chest. This pilgrimage marks the 50th anniversary of St Charbel’s beatification. The Parish Priest of St Joseph Church, Father Wissam Akiki, had publicised as much as he could the short visit of the St Charbel’s relic at his church which was between the 15th January 2016 to 17th January 2016.
Dafne was diagnosed with Arnold–Chiari malformation at the age of 13 and over the years developed papilledema (swelling of the optic disc swelling) at the end of the optic nerve. Surgery to correct the malformation had proved unsuccessful. In 2014, she lost the use of her left eye, which had gradually weakened a year earlier. In November 2015, the right eye was also lost, which plunged her into total darkness that even sunlight failed to break when she looked at it directly. A medical report eventually concluded that her blindness was irreversible and that she required permanent medical assistance. Dafne even considered moving to a blind residence so she won’t be a burden on her family.
Over the weekend of the 16th and 17th January 2016, motivated by Fr Akiki’s posters, relatives encouraged Dafne to ask for healing at St Joseph’s Church. Then one of Dafne’s relative took her to St Joseph’s Church to receive a prayer and a blessing from Father Akiki on Saturday, 16 January 2016. “I put my hand on her head, then on both eyes, and I asked God to heal her through the intercession of St Charbel,” Father Akiki said. The next day on Sunday, Dafne and her family attended Mass at St Joseph’s Church and then went home.
On the morning of the 18th January 2016, the amazing miracle occurred. Around 5am, Dafne woke up with severe itching in the eyes and the feeling of pressure on her skull and eye sockets. She woke up her husband, who detected a strong burning smell in the room. He switched on the light, but then switched it off very quickly, at Defne’s request because it bothered her. Then in the glow of a nightlight, she shouted with amazement and joy, that she could see again. “I can see you. I can see you with my own eyes,” she shouted. At the same time, she felt a strong pressure on the skull and eyes, like after an operation. She put her hand to her head, on the right side, as if there were an injury. “I cannot believe it. I did not want to close my eyes,” she said. Dafne’s children were also shouting: “Mum can see! God healed mum!’”