The Miraculous Cure That Got Sister Faustina Beatified

‘After every storm,’ says Deacon Bob Digan, ‘there is a rainbow assuring us of God’s promise, Divine Mercy.’

St. Faustina medal
St. Faustina medal (photo: D Case / Pixabay / CC0)

Maureen Digan of Massachusetts was just 15 when she was diagnosed with Milroy’s lymphedema, a painful cancer that causes extreme swelling of the limbs.

In the years following her diagnosis, Maureen endured about 50 operations and spent up to a year at a time in the hospital. Needless to say, her life was severely limited and full of suffering. Her family and friends urged her to pray and put her trust in God.

But, over time, Maureen lost hope. She could not understand why God allowed this debilitating disease in her life. As her condition deteriorated, doctors decided her leg needed to be amputated. The surgery was scheduled.

“I had pushed God pretty much out of my life,” says Maureen. “I didn’t go to confession. I would not go to Mass. I would wonder why the other kids were so happy and I’m not. Everything was God’s fault.”

Even as her parents would tell her, “It’s okay. Trust in God. God is good. He’ll have something special planned for you,” Maureen would think, “Thanks but no thanks.”

When Maureen met Bob, she couldn’t imagine why he would be interested in her. “How can Bob love me when God doesn’t love me?” she asked herself, thinking he needed someone he could dance with, instead of one who was expected to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. They married, and his strong faith helped them through the enormous difficulties — even the miscarriage of their baby daughter and the struggles of a son born with severe seizures and multiple disabilities.

When their little boy lost the ability to talk and walk, Maureen told MASS Live, “the doctors told us to put him in an institution and get on with our lives, but our baby was our life — he was our miracle child.”

Taking care of a disabled child from a wheelchair wasn’t easy, but Maureen had a devoted husband. With their lives plagued by constant physical, spiritual and social limitations, Bob began searching for an answer to life’s most common question — the “why” of suffering. After seeing a film on the life of Sister Faustina called Divine Mercy: No Escape, Bob was convinced of the healing powers through her intercession and that the couple should visit her tomb in Poland.

Bob visited the shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and asked Father Seraphim Michalenko, vice postulator for Faustina’s cause, to travel to Poland with them to “witness the miracle” he was certain would take place. Meanwhile, Maureen thought her husband might be having a breakdown — such a trip in a wheelchair would be difficult, and they didn’t have money to travel. Father Michalenko agreed to go with them, and after taking out a loan to cover the trip, they went with their son, Bobby, to Sister Faustina’s tomb at the Shrine of Divine Mercy near Krakow, on March 23, 1981.

Maureen still wasn’t convinced she was about to experience a miracle, but she prayed at the tomb and heard Sister Faustina say, “Ask for my help, and I will help you."

“I knew something was happening,” she said. “All the pain seemed to drain out of me. After two days, I had to stuff tissue in my shoe because the swelling in my limbs had subsided, and the shoe fell off. I looked at my leg. It looked like it had before I got lymphedema.”

Bob simply said, “I knew Jesus would do it.”

It took Maureen three weeks before she could really believe she had been healed. “I was so scared and full of fear. I couldn’t believe God could be so loving and merciful."

Simultaneously, Bobby received a dramatic healing, as well, right there at the tomb. Although his was not a total healing, he stopped having seizures, which gave him a far more normal life until his death at the age of 18.  

The Sacred Congregation for the Cause of Saints declared there was no medical explanation for Maureen’s healing, and in 1991 it was accepted as the miraculous cure needed to beatify Sister Faustina. The “Apostle of Divine Mercy” was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II on April 18, 1993, with the Digans in attendance that day in Rome, and was canonized on April 30, 2000.

Bob and Maureen have since witnessed to thousands at conferences, churches and schools throughout the world. He served as assistant to the rector of the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge. Together they’ve spoken at the new chapel at the Pentagon honoring the victims of 9/11 and at the World Apostolic Conference on Divine Mercy. Their story has been shared on EWTN and The Miracle Hunter and is featured in the popular video An Ocean of Mercy.

The Digans continue to encourage others to trust in Divine Mercy. Bob says, “We strongly encourage others to keep focus on Our Lord and pray, hope and don’t worry (Padre Pio). I would suggest people who need encouragement and look for a miracle to look at a rainbow and remember this is God’s promise of mercy. We offer our witness as a means of hope and consolation for all who can identify with our experience.”

Maureen and her husband, Deacon Bob Digan, of Lee, Massachusetts, have released a DVD, In the Name of Miracles, which tells their story.