June 10, 2019
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THE POWER OF THE SACRAMENTS
You would find Nina Paul to be a fascinating person. She is a priest with the Open Catholic Church which is highly sacramental, but has no connection with the Roman Catholic Church. Nina Paul is part of the Independent Sacramental Movement and responsible for the St. Theresa Open Seminary. For some time, she has also worked as a hospice chaplain.
A hospice in Oxnard, California called Chaplain Paul to come and minister to a dying man. Pee Wee was in the last hours of his life. He could barely talk and wasn’t expected to live for more than a short time. Pee Wee had been turned out at nine years of age and grew up on the streets as a homeless person. All contact with his original family was lost and disappeared 40 years earlier. As best anyone could tell, Pee Wee had no religious training or any sort of a spiritual background or interest.
When Chaplain Paul arrived, she discovered that it was very difficult to understand the man as he could barely speak. She asked Pee Wee what she could do for him.
“I want to be baptized,” he barely uttered.
The Chaplain wasn’t sure she heard right and ask him three times to make sure she had correctly understood his desire. Each time he mumbled “yes” and nodded his head. As any good priest would do, Nina Paul began the baptismal ceremony using the liturgy of the church and the proper sacramental preparations. After she finished that ceremony, she led Pee Wee in the prayers of Confirmation which ended with, “Strengthen, O Lord, your servant Pee Wee with your Holy Spirit; empower him for your service and sustain him all the days of his life. Amen.”
Pee Wee fell back on the pillow and Nina left. Two hours later, she was at home when the nurse called.
“What in the hell did you do to Pee Wee?” she barked. “Get down here at once!”
Nina couldn’t figure out what she had done wrong, but was terrified. What had occurred?
When she got to the hospice center, she found Pee Wee sitting outside in a wheelchair, smoking a cigarette, and talking to one of the patients.
“Two hours ago, he was nearly dead and now he’s completely restored!” the nurse said breathlessly. “Look out there! What did you do?”
Nina Paul hadn’t expected such a dramatic result, but the only explanation was that the Sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation had brought new life to Pee Wee. Nina was overwhelmed.
During the next two-weeks, Pee Wee was able to restore his broken relationship with his family. He found his mother and a sister he had lost. The long-forgotten family gathered around him and he died peacefully.
Pee Wee had gone from his deathbed to a wheel chair almost instantly. Where did the miracle come from? Nina Paul says, “It was the power of the sacraments that produced the healing.”