An aggressive malignant melanoma should have taken his life, but instead Carmelite Fr. Michael Driscoll is enjoying his retirement in Boca Raton, and sharing his story of a remarkable hearing that he credits to the intercessory prayers of another Carmelite priest, Blessed Titus Brandsma, who was killed by lethal injection in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau.
A lengthy investigation into the healing has been undertaken, and sent to Rome in the hopes that this healing will be the miracle necessary to canonize Brandsma as a saint.
The Rev. Mario Esposito, a Carmelite priest from New York who is promoting the cause of Brandsma’s sainthood, said he knows of no other miracles attributed to Brandsma that are being investigated.
[Father Michael Driscoll] said he has developed a special connection to Brandsma over the decades, cultivating his own outspoken voice for Catholic causes, including speaking against abortion and in favor of immigrant rights.
When Driscoll contracted advanced skin cancer in 2004, a fellow priest gave him a relic of Brandsma’s habit, a tiny piece of black cloth, which he applied to his head each day as he prayed to the martyred Carmelite. The Diocese of Palm Beach also asked its parishioners to pray to Brandsma for Driscoll’s recovery.
[That year doctors had] extracted an advanced metastatic melanoma from his head that had spread into his neck. They also removed 84 lymph nodes and a salivary gland and took a graft from his thigh to replace the lost skin above his right-side forehead. The surgery was followed by 35 days of radiation.
Driscoll’s cancer, Stage 4 melanoma, has a five-year survival rate of only 15 percent to 20 percent, and at 10 years, the rate falls to 10 percent to 15 percent, according to Dr. Adam Friedman, associate professor of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine and spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology.
Driscoll has withstood these odds. Fourteen years after his surgery and radiation, he has no further signs of the advanced melanoma.
“It appears there is no medical explanation for his cure,” Esposito said.
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