Detroit Stories Episode 26: 'Miracle Child' (PODCAST)

Doctors told Nora Mies' parents her seizures as a newborn meant she wouldn't live a normal life; then, they prayed to Blessed Solanus Casey

(00:02) We meet 9-year-old Nora Mies, a student at St. Michael’s School in Livonia.*

(00:24) Nora’s dad, Patrick Mies, talks about how Nora excels in school, in her many sports and extracurriculars, and how she shines socially and spiritually. However, Nora is different from other girls her age in that her hero isn’t a pop star or cultural icon – Nora looks up to Fr. Solanus Casey. Nora’s devotion to Fr. Solanus is deeply personal, as she almost wasn’t the thriving young girl she is today. Norah believes she is a miracle girl.

(1:41) Nine years ago, Patrick and Shelby Mies waited in a delivery room preparing for the birth of their firstborn. The delivery was difficult, and the doctors were concerned for newborn Nora. Nora was having a seizure caused by a stroke covering a large part of her brain — an extremely serious situation for a newborn — and doctors whisked her away for emergency care.

(3:48) Nora spends the days following her seizure in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU). The Mies are told Nora has the type of brain bleed that disrupts normal blood flow, depriving the brain of oxygen and resulting in brain cells dying. This is associated with a high mortality rate and neurological deficits, and the couple is told Nora will likely never walk or talk.

(6:39) The narrator introduces Brother Thomas, a Capuchin friar at the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit. He talks about Nora’s hero, Blessed Solanus, a simple priest who served as the doorkeeper for the monastery.

(8:27) Solanus’ superiors begin to notice that people who come to the friar for prayer often experience miraculous physical or spiritual healing, Brother Thomas says. After his death in 1957, devotion to Fr. Solanus exploded, and people continued to pray for his intercession. A cause for his sainthood is investigated and in 2017, he was declared “Blessed.”

(9:32) One of the thousands devoted to Fr. Solanus during his lifetime was Patrick Mies’ grandfather, resulting in a devotion passed down to Patrick himself.

(10:41) Flashing back to the hospital, Patrick and Shelby leave the NICU hungry for spiritual guidance and solace. They take Nora to the tomb of Fr. Solanus at St. Bonaventure and request a blessing for Nora. The Mies leave St. Bonaventure with the assumption that nothing had changed, but an overwhelming sense of peace.

(12:30) To everyone’s surprise, Nora reaches her developmental milestones and begins doing well. The Mies decide to stop using special education services, and her doctors tell the couple that Nora is “a miracle child.”

(14:13) Today, Nora is a healthy, thriving girl. She has just turned 10 years old, and there are no repercussions from what happened to her at birth.

(14:30) The Mies talk about their renewed devotion to Blessed Solanus Casey, to whose intercession they attribute Nora’s healing. Nora is enthusiastic about her connection to Fr. Solanus, and the family talks about the story often.

(15:59) Patrick talks about how Fr. Solanus was an ordinary person with extraordinary faith who can lead believers and nonbelievers alike to Christ.

*Although Nora was 9 years old at the time of recording, she recently turned 10.

Reporting by Gabriella Patti; script by Casey McCorry; narration and production by Ron Pangborn

This episode is sponsored by Michigan Catholic Conference. Visit to join the Catholic Advocacy Network. You’ll receive email updates and action steps to have your Catholic voice heard on bills in the Michigan House and Senate that impact human dignity and the common good.

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