Then six years old, he was taken to Seattle Children’s Hospital on Feb. 21, 2006, and went through some 20 operations in as many days. At the request of his parents, his parish in Bellingham, Wash., began praying to Kateri and put out the word to Native Americans throughout the country to join them.
By March 4, he was still “fighting between life and death,” Molinari said. That day, a nun based in Montana brought a relic – a fragment of bone – of Kateri to the hospital. Molinari had given the bone bit to the vice-postulator on the case after Kateri was beatified in 1980. When the vice-postulator died, the bone fragment passed to a reliquary for Native Americans.
Together with Jake’s mother, Elsa, the nun placed the bone fragment on Jake’s body. Jake’s grandmother also had pinned a picture card of Kateri on the bed. It was on that day that the hospital laboratory reported that the streptococcus had stopped spreading, Molinari said.
Molinari said the request for the relic was made by the then-archbishop of Seattle, Alexander Brunett, who later convened a board of inquiry, inviting the four doctors who worked on Jake to testify.
As Molinari spoke, he leafed through a 472-page book that he had assembled, with the title, in Latin: “The book on the miracle.” The book includes the doctors’ testimony to the board of inquiry as well as hospital records, pictures of Jake while the disease was still spreading and the statements of friends, priests and family. The doctors said they had no medical explanation for Jake’s sudden recovery.
The book was first given to two medical experts appointed by the Holy See to give a preliminary judgment, and when it passed their muster, it went to the Holy See’s medical board, consisting of seven persons.
Molinari said the methodology of the inquiry showed “the seriousness with which the Holy See does this.”
The outcome was a judgment by Pope Benedict XVI that Jake’s cure constituted a miracle under church rules.
“The coincidence of an extraordinary event that has no scientific explanation with the prayers of the people so widely spread, this is what is considered to be the proof that it is an extraordinary grace, a work by God, that means a miracle,” Molinari said. “It does not have a human explanation, a scientific explanation, a medical explanation. On the contrary, it is outside the rule of medicine.”