St. Anthony and the miracle woman
Today is the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of lost things. I know this not so much because I am an expert on saints. Despite being related to one, that’s hardly the case. But two years ago today, I interviewed a devout Catholic woman in a remote southern Italian village to whom St. Anthony was her favorite and most treasured saint. That is until she lay dying in a coma from meningitis in 2003, given up for dead by her doctor. Her husband, family and friends prayed for nine days to Padre Gaetano Catanoso to deliver this woman to health. And when Anna Pangallo unexpectedly rose from her coma after nine days, after the doctors in Reggio Calabria could not explain her recovery, after the Vatican investigated the case medically and theologically, that’s when Pope John Paul II declared that Anna’s recovery was a miracle, with my cousin as the intercessor. It was that miracle, his second, that led to Gaetano Catanoso’s canonization in 2005.
Today, a still healthy Anna Pangallo, in her late 50s, no longer considers St. Anthony her favorite saint. Her entire story is detailed in a chapter of my book titled “Miracles and Medicine”. Anna is pictured above with my cousin Vincenzo Infortuna outside her home in Roccaforte del Greco.