On August 9, 1987, when Audrey was three years old. She was playing in the driveway with Stephen, her brother. It was on this day that Audrey fell into the family swimming pool.
Audrey recovered but was rushed to the hospital where she was overmedicated. The doctor prescribed too much phenobarbital, and Audrey lapsed into a coma. Audrey was in a coma for about three weeks.
The hospital’s physical therapist broke Audrey’s legs and dislocated her shoulder. Then the doctor insisted on insertion of a tracheotomy tube. She remained in ICU with 24-hour nursing care. She was out of the coma in three weeks. She remained in a state called Akinetic Mutism — non-speaking and limited movement.
The “professionals” insisted that Audrey be placed in an institution. Audrey’s mother Linda, felt that she would receive better care being home with her family. So in November four months following the accident, Audrey was brought home.
Right from the beginning in the hospital hundreds of people came to pray for Audrey. Old friends, relatives and even strangers. Catholics and people from other faiths came, sent prayers, cards and gifts to Audrey. The hospital was so inundated with people, media and phone calls they eventually put Audrey in a private room in the PICU. For some reason God wanted Audrey to be known right from the beginning.
St. Paul tells us in scripture God sends us signs and wonders to get our attention. So is this what God has done with Audrey?
We believe that signs and wonders are manifesting with Audrey, around her and about her. Audrey seems to manifest unexplainable (medically) marks on her body that resemble the wounds of Christ. St. Paul also tells us that we must offer up our suffering to continue for Christ’s redemptive suffering. We also know Jesus Christ is the ultimate Victim. Suffering is not useless when offered up. We believe that Audrey does this. Suffering united to Christ takes on meaning.
The religious images that exude oil and blood are unexplainable to us. We believe because of the good fruits these unexplained happenings are of God. The Bishop’s commission has stated clearly they have found no trickery.
The healings that take place here are not completely investigated by the Bishop’s Commission but they are open to a full study in order to validate any claims. Prayer works therefore anytime Jesus Christ tells us “there are more than two gathered in My name …”
The greatest healing power God has left us in His Son, Jesus Christ, in the Eucharist. We must receive Him everyday and visit Him often. If we don’t do this the fault lies with us. Audrey brings us to the Eucharist. There are seven consecrated hosts that have exhibited human blood, this does not mean these seven hosts are better than any other consecrated host. This simply means that God in His goodness has given us a profound and awesome gift. Again signs and wonders to get our attention.
Audrey is also clearly telling us God doesn’t make junk! That life is valuable at any level. We live in an epidemic of unmercy. So therefore Audrey is a sign of hope and mercy. We believe even though Audrey does not walk or talk that she is valuable and God chose her as He often chooses the seemingly inadequate, unproductive but mostly the pure and innocent to convey His message. In a world of infanticide, homicide and genocide God wants us to choose the right side.
We place our confidence in faith, therefore believing this is to prove there is life in the Eucharist and the value of life in us.
Having resigned herself to God’s will prior to the age of seven (the age of reason), it is unlikely that Audrey has ever sinned. Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, a Massachusetts based Melkite Catholic priest whose ministry centers around peace and justice, believes that the little girl is redemptively connected with the sins of nuclear destruction.
Significant dates in Audrey’s life often echo monumental historic events as well. August 9th, 11:03 a.m., the first recorded medical entry on the day of the drowning accident, is also the exact date and time of the bombing of Nagasaki some forty-two years earlier. The date of Audrey’s initial release from the hospital, November 14th, is the anniversary of the bombing of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, in 1921.
Father Renê Laurentin, a world-renowned theologian, concluded a four year personal investigation into the life of Audrey Santo. The esteemed Catholic scholar expects to report his favorable findings to the council. He visited Little Audrey in July 1993 and was deeply moved by being in her presence and stated “This is Holy Ground.” Little Audrey is a soul truly blessed and chosen by God.
It is imperative that Audrey’s role, regardless of its magnitude, be kept in perspective. She is an instrument, an extraordinary one to be sure, but an instrument nevertheless. Audrey was fed by a “g-tube” but she did consume one thing, and one thing alone by mouth: the Eucharist. Each day, Audrey received her precious Jesus Christ in the greatest miracle of all.
Although we must not elevate Audrey that we lose sight of Jesus Christ, neither should we discount or ignore His gift of Audrey to us. Let us go to this little thornless rose and ask for her assistance that like her, we too may truly become one with Christ. “But if we are children, we are heirs as well: heirs of God, heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with Him so as to be glorified with Him.”
As difficult as life for this family sounds, their home is so peaceful and full of love. When you meet Linda you would not think she had a care in the world. Many have written to little Audrey and their letters were read in Audrey’s room and placed before the Tabernacle.
Bishop Daniel Reilly of Worcester, Massachusetts set up a commission of psychologists, doctors and theologians to study the events at Little Audrey’s. We also remain obedient to the Pope and the Magesterium of the Church in all matters of faith and doctrine. We would like to add, we were profoundly affected by Bishop Reilly’s visit and blessings.
Audrey was received by God on April 14, 2007. Audrey’s wake and funeral took place at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Rev. John Foley (Audrey’s pastor and president of the Foundation for the Cause for Canonization of Audrey Santo) was the homilist at Audrey’s wake.
Bishop Robert McManus (our local ordinary) and Bishop Daniel Reilly (bishop emeritus) were present at the funeral Mass. Also in attendance Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, Melkite Catholic priest (Christian Nonviolence Ministry) delivered the homily. Several priests and deacons and hundreds of people attended both events.