SHE ASKED THEM TO PRAY WITH HER, AND AT THAT MOMENT A MAN DRESSED IN BLACK, WEARING A WHITE COLLAR, APPEARED.
“A mystery priest who was credited with saving an American woman’s life after a car crash before vanishing without trace has been identified. Katie Lentz, 19, was driving in Missouri when another car crashed head-on into hers. For an hour firemen unsuccessfully tried to cut the seriously injured woman free from the wreckage. Then Miss Lentz asked the rescue workers to pray aloud with her, and at that moment a man dressed in black, wearing a white collar, appeared.
THE PRIEST APPEARED…A SENSE OF CALMNESS CAME OVER US
Fire chief Raymond Reed said: ‘It was a Catholic priest who had anointing oil with him. A sense of calmness came over her, and it did us as well.’ He added that ‘we very plainly heard that we should remain calm, that our tools would now work and that we would get her out of that vehicle’.
A new fire crew arrived and was able to cut her free. But in a variant of the urban folklore tale of the vanishing hitchhiker, when the rescue workers looked around the priest had disappeared – and he did not appear in any of the 80 photographs of the scene.
‘I THINK IT’S A MIRACLE’
‘I think it’s a miracle,’ Mr Reed said. ‘Whether it was an angel that was sent to us in the form of a priest or a priest that became our angel, I don’t know. Either way, I’m good with it.’ Some people speculated that the mystery helper may have been a saint, perhaps Padre Pio, but the priest has since been revealed as Fr Patrick Dowling, of nearby Jefferson City diocese, who was born in Kilkenny. ‘I asked the sheriff’s permission and approached the scene of the accident,’ Fr Dowling said. ‘I absolved and anointed Katie, and, at her request, prayed that her leg would not hurt.’
THE POWER OF THE SACRAMENT OF THE SICK
Fr Dowling said he has since visited the girl in hospital. He said: ‘You can very easily fall into despair when you’re in trouble.’ The Sacrament of the Sick, he said, ‘restores hope’.”
Add. pg. 13, comment: “Although the mystery was cleared up, it nonetheless illustrated the power of the faith, and the many priests who provide comfort and strength in adversity.”
– This article, entitled “Mystery priest ‘who saved girl’ is identified” [capital headings added afterwards], was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue August 16 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link)