The atheist who believes in miracles

Dr Jaclyn Duffin

Miracle expert Jacalyn Duffin doesn't sound like an atheist when she talks about the mysterious benefit of prayer and the witness of a saintly life but she says miracles happen, the Catholic Weekly reports.

Dr Duffin says they are genuine wonders upon which only believers can shed some light. Her position has garnered attention all over the world – and controversy among the medical community.

The haematologist and medical historian at the Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, did her PhD thesis on the invention of the stethoscope, "as orthodox a topic as you can get". Her passion for miracles began in 1987 after she was asked to review a series of blood marrow samples in a blind reading.

"I thought I was reading them for a lawsuit," she says. "I was worried about having to face an aggressive lawyer in court, so I was really very careful when I was reading all these bone marrows and I couldn't figure out what was going on when I got to the end of all that work.

"The story was very clear. The woman suffered acute myeloid leukaemia, a most aggressive type of the disease. She went into remission following treatment, relapsed, was treated and went into remission again. The final bone marrow was a remission marrow, but such was the diagnosis and the fact that I was reading these several years after the advent of the leukaemia, I assumed the patient was dead."

She later discovered her report had been sent not to lawyers but to the Vatican, as an independent expert testimony in the case of a second miracle presented in the cause for the canonisation of Marie-Marguerite d'Youville, the founder of the Order of Sisters of Charity of Montreal (known as the Grey Nuns).

Later, Dr Duffin realised the Vatican held a wealth of valuable information for a medical historian because of the role of medical testimony in its saint-making process.

FULL STORY AND PHOTO

Meet the atheist scientist who believes in miracles (Catholic Weekly)

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