Detroit Stories Episode 53: 'A Different Kind of Healing' (PODCAST)

Each year, thousands of sick and injured people travel to Lourdes, France, seeking a miracle — and receive something far greater

(0:03) The narrator introduces Kathy Lewis and her husband, Philip, who in 2011 were both struggling with the difficult diagnosis of cancer. A friend suggested they take a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France.

(3:21) Each year, the Order of Malta brings thousand of malades — the French word for “sick person” — to the site of the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes. The narrator describes the history of Lourdes, its reputation for miracles, and the thousands who each year seek healing in the baths there.

(6:38) Tom Larabell, president of the Knights of Malta Free Medical and Dental Clinic in Detroit and former chair and treasurer for the area Knights of Malta, describes what a typical pilgrimage to Lourdes looks like.

(8:49) Dr. Ed Jelonek, an osteopathic surgeon and member of the order, describes how he become involved with helping malades make what for many is a life-changing pilgrimage — though not always for the reasons they expect.

(12:53) Kathy Lewis describes arriving on French soil with a prayer in her heart for healing. Philip’s prognosis wasn’t promising, and she knew it would take nearly a miracle to change his trajectory.

(13:50) Thomas Cousino, another malade who arrived in Lourdes paralyzed from a boating accident, describes his expectations. He talks about the challenges involved in being paralyzed, and how the love he experienced in Lourdes was a stark contrast to the struggles of daily life.

(17:29) The pilgrimage in Lourdes culminates in malades being immersed into the baths in the grotto where the apparitions took place. For Kathy, Philip and Thomas, it was a powerful moment that forever will stick in their memories — not because they were healed physically, but because it gave them a peace that surpasses understanding.

(19:14) Kathy and Thomas describe how their lives were changed at Lourdes. None received a physical healing — and Philip died three years later — but attest to another “miracle” they received: a different kind of healing. A healing of the spirit.

Reporting by Daniel Meloy; narration by Leah Butalid; script by Casey McCorry; production by Ron Pangborn

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