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Chapter 3
Signs of the Finger of God Here
OW KNOWN AS Myrna, her name before marriage
was Mary Kourbet Al-Akhras. She was born in 1964 of
a Greek-Orthodox Mother and a Greek-Catholic father.
Her childhood was considered normal without any serious sickness or
accident. She studied in both Catholic and Orthodox Christian schools
as well as in government schools. She was an average student. She dis-
continued school before receiving the unified Syrian baccalaureate
diploma. Myrna is by nature of jovial character. Her close friends in
Damascus told me that at the time when the supernatural occurrences
take place, “she is not the Myrna we know.”
Before the supernatural interventions which began in 1982, Myrna’s
knowledge of religion was very basic, nothing advanced. When she was
only 18-years-old she married Nicolas Nazzour, a Greek-Orthodox
man, in mid-May, 1982. Myrna’s parents were opposed to the marriage
because of the age difference. They gave in, seeing their daughter’s deter-
mination since she felt a “real admiration” for Nicolas. Nicolas, who had
not been considering marriage previously, liked Myrna immediately
upon meeting her.
The marriage took place in the Nazzour home. It was reported that
Nicolas did not want a Church wedding, implying his lack of religious
fervor. Nicolas had a relative that died not long before the wedding was
to take place and thus his request that the marriage take place in the
home, rather than a festive wedding at church. The marriage of Nicolas
and Myrna was followed by a honeymoon to Rome.
Since the message of Soufanieh includes the call for families to be
domestic churches, it may well be divine providence that it developed
that this family begins with the Sacrament of Matrimony being admin-
istered in their home.
Myrna told me that when she announced to her family that she was
going to marry Nicolas who was 20 years older than she, her brother
became angry, and hit her. About 20 years later when she related this to
me, she laughed about it.
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The unusual phenomenon began on Saturday, November 27, 1982,
on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent, which was only about six
months after their marriage.
One day as I sat with the Nazzour family for a noon meal, sudden-
ly Nicolas said to me: “Tell me, Father , why did God chose me for this?”
I answered: “Because God knew you would accept and do His will as a
husband in this case since in Christian marriage the two are one.” He
replied: “A young man would never have been able to handle it.”
Nicolas later said to me: “If you know Myrna, she is a jewel. I am 20
years older and have had many experiences in life. After these years with
Myrna I can say she is a jewel. Anyone who accepts God’s will and
accepts suffering is a jewel. Everyone has a mission from God. My mis-
sion often was to be a babysitter as Myrna often had to travel and also
to pray with people. I had to take care of the children.”
He continued: “I think it is the first time in an Islamic country that
there has been an icon on the street (in front of our house), and Chris-
tians stop on the street to pray to the Blessed Mother before the Icon.”
The Blessed Mother had asked that a stone be removed so this Icon
could be placed outside at the entrance to their home.
Nicolas added: “Myrna has had to pray with people even while at
home. There was no time for her to handle all the Soufanieh needs and
take care of children. God gave us no children until four and a half years
after marriage. I love children. Before the children were born Myrna
would hold other people’s children and cry. She would say: “It is God’s
will we are not having children.” By then I had witnessed that this was
no ordinary family. There was little privacy. The world would come in as
the door was always open. There was no need to knock. They just came
in. It is what the Blessed Mother had requested.
Nicolas had met me at the airport shortly after I arrived at 2:30 p.m.
local time at Damascus. He felt badly that I was there a few minutes
before he found me. I assured him it was all right. “No,” he said, “it is
terrible I was not here immediately.” That immediately informed me of
the great concern he and his family would extend to me the week I
would be at their home.
Getting into the car, within minutes, he mentioned to me that we
must work for unity. I was surprised to have him get into the subject of
unity so quickly. Then he told me about what had happened during my
flight from Australia to Syria. Terrorists, expected to be extreme Mus-
lims, like Osama bin Laden’s people, had totally destroyed the twin tow-
ers of the World Trade Center, and struck the Pentagon. Thousands were
killed. Also, the Pentagon had been crashed into by a third plane and a
fourth plane intended for terrorism had crashed into the countryside of
Pennsylvania when passengers resisted the terrorists. All planes in the
United States were grounded. This situation doubtlessly prompted
Nicolas to introduce to me quickly the need to work together for unity.
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Chapter 3. Signs of the Fingers of God Here
39
Being in Syria where
Arabic is spoken, although
Nicolas speaks English
freely and fluently and also
Myrna with some hesita-
tion, I was most anxious to
hear news from the United
States. Temporarily they
were able to get CNN. It
showed the horrible crum-
bling of the Trade Towers,
people running, smoke,
ashes over the city, etc. The
commentator quoted a
lady in New York, who
asked: “Is there no longer a
sign of God’s presence?”
To this Nicolas responded
aloud that there is. We
were watching the news
from his home where their
occurs daily great signs of
God’s presence.
In the months after I
returned to the United
States, it seemed that mil-
lions in America were
learning something about Islam for the first time. Doubtlessly many
Muslim people were also coming to realize the extremism among
Islamic Fundamentalists which led to the acts of terrorism on
September 11, 2001. There are extremists among Christian Funda-
mentalists too. In both cases, it is not true religion when hatred and vio-
lence is involved.
Nicolas explained to me that it seems Soufanieh’s mission is for
union with Islam too. Holy Mary told Myrna, “Open the doors . . . Do
not forbid anyone to visit me. . . .”
I asked Nicolas: “How do you keep up the spirit of joy with people
coming all the time?” He responded: “Fr. Malouli would advise us: ‘God
accomplishes everything. Take it easy. Do not hurry. God does every-
thing right.’ Sometimes I feel tired. I sleep only for my body. My spirit
never gets tired. Before I married I wanted the people to leave after a
half hour. Now I accept whatever. It’s not my human nature to be this
way. God is helping me in this. It’s not natural.
“Before marriage I worked in Saudi Arabia. God gave me success
there. I made enough money so when I came back here to live, I had
The message of Our Lady of Soufanieh is artisti-
cally written on the walls within the Virgin’s
House of Soufanieh. The branches of the vine have
a message on each leaf.
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enough money to go on. God was preparing me for this without my
knowledge. We put up a sign ‘No donations’ from the beginning. Before
I would accept three or four people for a half hour. Now I accept thou-
sands of people. Who makes me strong? GOD.”
Fr. Joseph Malouli who shall appear in this book from time to time,
has proven to be invaluable to the Soufanieh movement. From the begin-
ning, Fr. Malouli recorded everything in writing. He was almost con-
stantly at the Nazzour home, and he recorded everything, it seems, almost
second by second. Fr. Zahlaoui describes Fr. Malouli’s role this way: “[He]
succeeded in developing a file so detailed that a psychoanalysis professor
who teaches in Belgium, Germany and the United States, said: ‘I have pre-
sented the file prepared by Fr. Malouli as being the best scientific file that
I have ever seen.’ This occurred because of the notes that Fr. Malouli took
day by day, minute by minute, second by second, something I never would
have thought of doing. Or perhaps I would have thought about it a few
months later, but by then I would have forgotten a lot.”
Nicolas told me that even though the doors of the home are always
open nothing has ever been stolen. No one has ever bothered anything
in their home. One day I happened to be alone in the Soufanieh home
as Myrna had to go to school for the children’s sake and Nicolas was away
having repairs done on their 1964 car. People came and went as usual
as I observed them in the home.
I had the occasion when alone to write down some of what is on the
wall of the main room of their home where the public comes to pray and
read the inscriptions on the wall. In one place there is a picture of the
Icon and branches and leaves extending out from it with some of the
messages of Soufanieh. Below are excerpts from different messages as
found on the branches and leaves:
“The Church is the kingdom of heaven on earth. Whoever divided it
has done wrong and whoever rejoiced in its division has done
wrong.” 3/24/1983.
“All that I ask for is that all of you may unite in Me, just as I am present
in every one of you.” 11/26/1988.
“Do not be afraid, my daughter, that I tell you that you are seeing me for
the last time until the Feast [Easter] is unified.” 11/26/1990.
“Do not be fragmented like the elders. You shall teach the generations
the word of unity, love and faith.” 3/24/1983.
“But you, my daughter, will not hear my voice until the feast is one.”
4/14/1990.
“You are my Church and you belong to me; unless this heart has chosen
to follow another god.” Los Angeles. 8/14/1988.
“The Church that Jesus adopted is one Church because Jesus is one.”
3/24/1983.
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“Tell my children that I ask them for unity. And I do not request it from
those who pretend that they are working for union.” 9/7/1988.
“Go and preach to all nations and tell them without fear, to work for
unity.” 11/26/1987.
“The Church is the kingdom of heaven on earth. He who has divided it
has done wrong, and he who has rejoiced for its divisions has also
done wrong.” Hassake 8/8/85.
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Chapter 3. Signs of the Fingers of God Here
41
After copying the above message from the wall of the Soufanieh
home, I decided after a time to visit the park across the street. There is
the eucalyptus tree from which the Mother of God came and stood on
the terrace of their home. I prayed the divine office in the park and was
thus gone for some time. I had left my small luggage with valuables,
passport, etc., in the main room where the public comes to visit and pray.
When I returned everything was as I had left it. With thousands com-
ing and going during the year, it appears the Virgin protects this home
in a special way.
Nicolas said to me: “What I made in Saudi Arabia makes it possible
to live reasonably well. God planned things out long ago before either I
or Myrna were born. My hobby is learning languages. I speak German,
French, English and Dutch. God prepared me to translate for Myrna.”
After becoming acquainted with the Soufanieh home of the Naz-
zours I thought much how Sacred Scripture teaches that the Christian
home is a little church, miniature Mystical Body. I recalled that the Pope
often speaks of the family home as the domestic church, the church of
the home. Myrna’s and Nicolas’s seems more like a church, in some
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respects, than a family home. It has become a church to which the world
comes to pray. It is then very significant that their wedding took place
in their home with the priest coming there for the wedding ceremony.
I observed Myrna’s naturalness, her great sense of humor. She did
common work about the home; no airs, she was simple and hospitable.
She was kind as was Nicolas.
One day, September 15 to be exact, when I was writing at a portable
table, suddenly Myrna called to me: “Father, look!” She then kissed
Nicolas on the cheek. I think it was to show me that although the hap-
penings of Myrna’s life and in their home of Soufanieh were most
unusual, yet, as husband and wife, they had a human love blessed by spe-
cial grace.
Close friends of Myrna’s told me that their daughter Miriam was,
by Holy Mary’s own words, “a gift” from the Blessed Mother. Nicolas
and Myrna had been married four and a half years without children.
They did not live as a normal husband and wife for one year after the
phenomenon started, but then Mary told Myrna that she had not come
to separate. Miriam, their daughter, when she was two to three-years-
old, one day said to her mother Myrna, who did not know she was preg-
nant, “Mama, Emmanuel is inside of you.” They named the baby boy,
born later, John Emmanuel.
There have been many signs of God’s presence in the Soufanieh
home. There are signs too of God’s presence as Myrna has traveled the
world. The daily coming of people from various parts of the world to
their Soufanieh home, the conversions and healings that take place
there, all are signs of God’s presence.
It was a great privilege for me to be able to offer the holy Sacrifice
of the Mass daily, in persona Christi, in their Soufanieh home where Jesus
and Mary, and the Holy Spirit have manifested themselves so vividly. I
offered Mass each evening after the daily Soufanieh community prayer
session, immediately before the small miraculous Icon which has repeat-
edly exuded olive oil and where Myrna has experienced the stigmata and
accompanying sufferings whenever the Orthodox and Catholics have
celebrated Holy Week and the Feast of Easter at the same time.
During my first full day in Damascus Nicolas told me that the
events of Soufanieh had turned his planned married life entirely around.
It brought him to Jesus and what is needed for salvation in a very strong
manner. “It all started in November,” he said. “By December that year of
1982 I was totally convinced it was all of God. Then we opened the
doors to Christ in our home.”
Why oil? Oil is a sign of the Holy Spirit. It is a sign too of the gifts
and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Oil is a sign of healing, soothing, and com-
forting. It strengthens athletes and brings light when burned. Oil is a
pre-eminent sacred sign, the sign of the presence and action of the Holy
Spirit. The Holy Chrism, the consecrated oil by the bishop on Holy
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Fr. Fox looks in amazement when Fr. Zahlaoui presented Myrna to him with olive
oil exuding from her hands.
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Thursday, is used in the anointing which is the sacramental sign of the
seal which the Holy Spirit gives in Confirmation. Oil is used at the ordi-
nation of priests when the newly ordained hands are anointed for
through his hands graces will flow. Oil is also used at baptism when the
one baptized is given a share in Jesus Christ as priest, prophet and king.
Oil is essential in the administration of the sacrament of Confirmation
which brings us the Holy Spirit in a new and special way.
Oil has often exuded from Myrna during prayers or while speaking
about the phenomenon or during ecstasy. The oil exudes most often
from her hands while praying but oil has also flowed from Myrna’s face,
neck, eyes, stomach—such as on the third day of a triduum of strict fast-
ing, November 26-29, 1984. Oil which has flowed has always been in
relation to the phenomenon of Our Lady of Soufanieh.
The oil has exuded from Myrna not only when in Damascus but in
various places throughout Syria; also in Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus, the
United States, Canada, Germany, France, Netherlands, Australia, Bel-
gium, Egypt, Spain, Portugal, Italy, etc.
Oil has exuded from reproductions of the Icon, reported to have
happened with up to one thousand different reproductions. Such has
been reported in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Venezuela,
Switzerland, United States, Canada, France, Holland, Germany,
Belgium, Australia, Haiti and other Arabic countries.
The oil has flowed from reproductions of the Icon during prayer,
before or after, when others have been praying, or during a conversation
about Our Blessed Mother. Oil has been known to flow from a replica
of the Icon or its photographic reproductions outside of prayer time,
sometimes even in Muslim houses.
People have been led to prayer through the oil phenomenon. They
then pray in an atmosphere of peace in whatever homes the oil has been
manifested. This has served to bring back communal family prayer.
The oil which exudes from the body of Myrna Al-Akhras Nazzour
has been analyzed to be 100 percent pure olive oil. It has the fragrance
of roses. Its time and manner of appearance is unforseen. It appears and
disappears without any control of Myrna. She is not able to decide
when it should or may appear. It does appear when Myrna is fully con-
scious and often in the presence of others. It may appear any time of the
day or night.
I know in my own experience the oil on Myrna’s hands appeared
while I was expressing the relationship of Our Lady of Soufanieh to Our
Lady of Fatima, having just concluded the celebration of the Holy Mass.
The oil also appears during ecstasies when Myrna is to see Jesus or the
Virgin Mother Mary. Often the occasion is during religious ceremonies.
When a respectful and a prayerful atmosphere does not exist or last,
the oil evaporates very quickly. It does not stain clothing. When it
appears, Myrna is usually asked to anoint the foreheads of the people
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Fox. Light from the East—Miracles of Our Lady of Soufanieh
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who are present. She will never anoint priests but asks them to anoint
themselves, or another priest to do so.
When the oil is being applied to persons present with oil from her
hands, it evaporates when there are no more persons to be anointed. I
noticed that the oil was disappearing when I completed the anointing of
those present, mainly youth who had been at the Tuesday night youth
prayer gathering at Soufanieh. All who were present at the conclusion of
a Mass I offered at the site of the apparitions thus wanted to be anoint-
ed. On this occasion Myrna stood beside me with her hands extended
from which oil exuded and I anointed each person present, taking the oil
with my thumb from her two hands. Fr. Zahlaoui and I then anointed
each other.
Below is given but one testimonial of a youth who was present that
evening at the House of the Virgin, at the site of the apparitions. He
sent it to me after my return to America.
C
From Soufanieh—A Youth’s Experience
“I am writing from Soufanieh. Everybody is still talking about your visit.
Fr. Elias talked about you during Mass. You can be sure that you will always
stay in our hearts.
“As you know, I am from Germany, but studying in Damascus and
attended your Masses at Soufanieh, went with you to Papal Nuncio, etc. I just
want to tell you about my feelings connected with Soufanieh. Actually, before
I never considered Soufanieh a special place. I never had any doubt that it was
true and I never felt uncomfortable, but it was the same like praying in a
church or other places.
It was only the last evening you were there when you had just said Mass
in the upper terrace where Our Lady appeared when I felt that “Our Lady of
Soufanieh” put some special love into my heart, a love that I will never forget
in my life. The oil that came after the Holy Mass was even the most unim-
portant thing that occurred for me. It may sound strange, but just before this
happened I remembered the words of the Vatican Nuncio, who said that it does
not matter whether there are miracles or not, important is that people go there
and pray. I said to myself that this is true, what else do we need?
Those young ladies and men present for the Tuesday night prayer night
and then also Mass are proof enough, I thought, that the Spirit of God is in
this house. At the same time I felt like it was Christmas. It was such a won-
derful atmosphere between the young people gathering around this beautiful
statue of the Virgin [at the site of the apparitions]. The oil was then like the
Christmas present of our Mother. Since then I am deeply touched by all of this
and every day I am looking forward to go and pray again at Soufanieh.
About my faith, I have to tell you that I was a Christian before and that
my faith in Jesus Christ was strong, but now I feel like I became a witness of
Chapter 3. Signs of the Fingers of God Here
45
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this faith, just like if I had lived at the time when Jesus was preaching on
earth. I am praying the Rosary every day. You can say that I really experienced
a special kind of love in my prayers at Soufanieh and perhaps also through the
people I have met there.
There are many things I have to tell you, but at the moment I do not have
the time with work at the University. I have to think about you and about
Soufanieh every hour. Please keep in touch with me, if you have got the time.
Thank you, Father. Tobias Beutgen—Soufanieh
C
The letter above is from a 25-year-old young man from Germany. He
spent time with me daily at Soufanieh and continued his studies in
Damascus before returning to his university in Germany. There he started
a similar youth prayer group as at Soufanieh. It is typical of what happens
to so many at Soufanieh—love of God and neighbor becomes a reality.
I was asked by the Soufanieh community to write for their records
my own testimonial as to what I had witnessed. It follows:
Author’s Testimonial to Damascus Miracle
September 25, 2001
From September 12 until September 19, 2001, I was in Damascus,
Syria, each day a guest at the House of Soufanieh, where I was always
well received by Nicolas and Myrna Nazzour. I was in Damascus and at
Soufanieh to make a detailed study of Our Lady of Soufanieh. I am a
Catholic priest who is the pastor of St. Mary of Mercy Church in
Alexandria, South Dakota, USA. I am also chaplain to the contempla-
tive nuns, discalced Carmelite Monastery of Our Mother of Mercy and
Saint Joseph. I am known in the United States also as a priest-journal-
ist, author of many books. I work with Eternal Word Television
Network (EWTN)—Catholic cable, which goes to many countries and
is recognized by the Vatican.
I am the founder-director of the Fatima Family Apostolate which is
canonically established in the Catholic Church and is in union with the
Pontifical Council for the Family. It exists to call families to holiness.
It was my privilege while in Damascus to make many interviews.
These included His Holiness, Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, the Syrian
Orthodox Patriarch; Patriarch Gregoire III of the Melkite Catholics;
Papal Nuncio, Msgr. Diego Causero; Archbishop Dionysius Behnam
Jajjawi, Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese; Fr. Elias Zahlaoui; Fr. Boulos
Fadel, et al., as well as friends of Nicolas and Myrna Nazzour. I found
great cooperation from all.
I observed the doors of Soufanieh opened each day to people of all
faiths from different countries who came to pray before the Icon of
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Chapter 3. Signs of the Fingers of God Here
47
Soufanieh; these included Christians: Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant;
Muslims, Buddhists, etc. Always there was respect from all, always all
were welcome. Only God knows what was transpiring in the hearts of
many. I admired the sacrifice of the Nazzour family in opening the doors
as Mary requested of them.
Whenever I offered the Sacrifice of the Mass at Soufanieh I found
the people most devout and prayerful long before the Mass began.
On the late evening of September 18, 2001, when we were gathered
for prayer and farewell in the upper balcony where Our Lady appeared,
I was expressing my gratitude for the charity and kindness of all. I
expressed the thought that I recognize a similarity between the message
of Fatima in the West and Soufanieh in the East. Suddenly, Fr. Elias
Zahlaoui drew my attention that olive oil was coming from the hands of
Myrna who stood beside him. Soon the people began singing a beauti-
ful hymn to Our Lady of Soufanieh and wanted me to anoint them with
oil from Myrna’s hands. This I did. They received with devotion.
During the week I had prayed, expressing my desire to accept God’s
will. While I had come to do research for a book on Soufanieh, I prayed
that if God wanted oil to occur while I was there that it be accepted not
for Myrna’s glory and not for mine, but only for the effectiveness of the
message of Soufanieh for Unity of the family and of the Church.
God is good. His Mother is holy.
Sincerely in Jesus, Mary, Joseph,
Fr. Robert J. Fox
It was at the conclusion of a youth Mass when all lined up to be anointed with oil
from Myrna’s hands.
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Such was the report I sent to Soufanieh. I can add here that about
4 p.m. the final day I was at Soufanieh I had become very sick for some
reason. I was obliged to lie down to regain strength to be able to offer
the Sacrifice of the Mass at 6 p.m. I offered the Eucharistic Sacrifice
each day while there, before the original small miraculous Icon of
Soufanieh which has often exuded olive oil.
While I had felt in good health and strength all the time I was in
Australia, and the entire week in Soufanieh, it was with difficulty that I
was able to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass the final evening at the
House of the Virgin. Immediately after Mass I rested again for, howev-
er weak I had become, I did not want to miss the youth meeting Tuesday
evening at 9:30. The youth had taken their inspiration for these youth
prayer meetings in the House of the Virgin from Pope John Paul II and
his gathering of young people for world youth days. When he came to
Damascus in May 2001, the youth had gathered in strong numbers
before the Pope chanting, “We want Unity”—meaning union of
Christians, especially Catholics and Orthodox.
I joined the 9:30 p.m. youth prayer gathering. It was my final
evening and I was scheduled to offer Mass in the upper terrace toward
midnight as likely I would not be able to offer the Mass the next day
traveling home. This meant offering two Masses within six hours when
I was very weak and sick. I found difficulty standing.
Security would be very tight and traveling difficult after the terror-
ism acts of the World Trade Center and Pentagon, etc., just over a week
before. It has been my prayerful hope to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass
every day of my life, including my last day upon earth. I did not want to
miss offering Jesus Christ’s infinite act of worship, which perpetuates
the Sacrifice of the Cross and brings His Real Presence, after a spiritu-
al week in the Virgin House of Soufanieh. Mary does lead us to Jesus!
One night, after I had finished the Mass and still had the Mass vest-
ments on, a young Syrian man of Christian faith, about 25 years of age,
said to me, “Oh! I would want to have a priestly spirit like you have in
your heart. He kissed my vestments in the area of the heart.” He
expressed a desire to come to America with me to study for the holy
priesthood. I told him that he was needed in the East. The humility of
this young man, his zeal and youthfulness was a great inspiration for me.
But then the entire Soufanieh community impressed me with their
charity and faith.
I have prayed, “Oh! dear heavenly Virgin, Mother of God, Mother
of us all, bring the millions of Muslims the world over who are of the
Islamic faith and believe in One true God as we do, as they recognized
His greatness, bring them all to recognize Jesus Christ as the Son
Incarnate of that one great God.
“They venerate you, O Mary, as the greatest Women in heaven.
They believe in the Virgin Birth and the Immaculate Conception. Give
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them faith in Jesus Christ, as
Lord, God and Savior. I know
you want them to have faith in
your Son, Jesus Christ so they
too may be saved.”
That night amidst the dim
light with flickering candles,
Myrna talked to the youth of
her mission, after which I
added some remarks. It was
difficult to stand there and talk
but I did and told of how,
approximately 30 years ago, I
went to Fatima and placed my
hands on the very spot where
the Mother of God had stood
and given her message for the
world. “There,” I told the
Syriac youth, “I asked our
Lady, ‘What do you want of
me?’ There I offered my hands
and my heart to the Mother of
God to do with me as she
liked. Then I was inspired to
do all I could to teach the full-
ness of true faith to youth
wherever I could, using the
message of Fatima as a vehicle for communicating the fullness of true
faith as Our Lady was a Catechist at Fatima.”
Burning candles gave little light in the House of the Virgin as the
youth prayerfully gathered and heard testimonies. Only those flickering
candles shed a weak light in the house which was beaming a light from
the East to the world. I was happy about that as perhaps in the dimness
of light that evening the youth could detect less easily how weak and
unsteady I felt from sickness as I gave my witness when called upon.
At the close of the youth meeting I immediately returned to rest. I
felt it would be dangerous to attempt to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass
near midnight, less I faint, however much my heart desired to perpetu-
ate Christ’s greatest gift and His Sacrifice at the very sight of the appari-
tions of Soufanieh on my final night there where heaven has been call-
ing for unity of family and Church.
It seemed the desire for Mass was nonetheless great and so I agreed
to offer the Mass with the request that it be shortened, no singing and
I’d give no homily. The Mass was completed; suddenly new energy
returned to my body. I said that I was no longer sick. I expressed my
Shrine on terrace of Nazzour home marks
spot of the apparitions of Our Lady of Sou-
fanieh to Myrna. It is over the suffering face
of Jesus formed from olive oil that fell from
Myrna’s hands.
Chapter 3. Signs of the Fingers of God Here
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great appreciation to all. Then I said, “I do not know if you realize it but
the shrine you have placed here where our Lady stood, with the pillar
you have put here with the statue of Mary inside the glass, is very simi-
lar to the shrine at Fatima where God’s Mother appeared. I see that
Soufanieh is to the East, what Fatima is to the West. Both are for the
world. Both are the same heavenly Mother of us all.”
As I was placing my hands atop the pillar at Soufanieh before the
image of Mary, while saying the above words, and showing how I placed
my hands in offering at Fatima in the same manner, Fr. Elias Zahlaoui
called to me, “Father, look, oil.” Myrna stood there somewhat shy with
hands bubbling up with oil. There was an exclamation of joyful awe
from the youth. Those present broke out in the song to “Our Lady of
Soufanieh.” Then they lined up, each to be anointed.
The oil lasted until the last one was anointed. Finally I took the blue
rosary which Nicolas had given me and asked Myrna to rub it in her
hands for any remaining oil to go onto the rosary. It was at that very spot
where our Lady first appeared. Our Lady had walked there on a stream
of light from the eucalyptus tree. She came across the street to the upper
patio exposed to the outdoors. There she had extended her rosary’s cru-
cifix unto Myrna’s hands which then exuded olive oil, overflowing onto
the floor. The oil on the floor formed the suffering face of Jesus Christ.
The oil stains are still there under the pillar.
I remained feeling well that evening, until well past midnight. I got
but little sleep before rising, long before sunrise, for the difficult journey
home which took two days. The illness returned during my journey home,
continuing for a couple weeks until some medical help was needed.
More than 20 years have passed, as this book begins to appear in the
hands of readers, since the calls from heaven for Christian Unity began
coming from the East—from the Virgin’s House of Soufanieh, in
Damascus.
The House of Soufanieh continues to welcome pilgrims of all reli-
gious persuasions from throughout the world. In the home lives Nicolas
and Myrna with their children, Miriam and John Emmanuel. Nicolas’s
mother Alice also lives with them in their home, humble by American
standards. They continue to welcome all who come, with the door al-
ways open from early morning until the evening hours.
God chooses whom He will for various missions. It is not a case of
a certain person proving oneself to have great sanctity and then God say-
ing, “I see this very holy person. Therefore I will chose that one for this
special mission.” St. Paul, whose conversion and baptism took place near
Soufanieh, was not a Christian, but a persecutor of Christians, when
Christ Jesus called him to become a missionary to the Gentiles. He was
chosen to be a “vessel of election” (Acts 9:15).
Myrna as a child and youth was ordinary. She spent these years
between Beirut, Lebanon and Damascus according to family travels.
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Myrna has two brothers and two sisters. She is reserved by nature, yet
jovial with her face often breaking into smiles and brightness when
something catches her interest. I noticed this during my time in Sou-
fanieh. A physician in Damascus talking about her balanced nature, jok-
ingly has said, “She is hopelessly normal.”
Nicolas and Myrna did not begin their marriage to manifest them-
selves as any unique couple who are of special spiritual examples to all
marriages. They had faith, right. One could say they were ordinary
Christians entering marriage with the intention to live an ordinary mar-
ried life, having children, living pretty much isolated from the world as
far as their personal lives and family were concerned. They married on
May 9, 1982. Myrna was born on May 3, 18 years previously.
Nicolas had worked some years in Germany and accumulated some
savings before marriage. The Nazzour family is not rich; the house is very
moderately furnished. I picked up the impression that finances for them
are more difficult than many think. They wisely have a sign posted in their
home, near the miraculous Icon, where people come to pray, that says, “No
donations accepted.” This restriction is necessary less they be misrepre-
sented as using religion for self-profit or having concocted a supposed
supernatural happening for their own gain. The contrary is true. The
events of Soufanieh have caused them much suffering, removing most of
their privacy, requiring untold patience and charity as the world comes to
their door and into their living room, even without knocking.
For some years, I have worked with a man, who has the favor of his
bishop, who has the wound marks in his hands. He agrees with my
advice never to accept one cent from people who want to donate. He
never has. The Nazzours struggle to tend to needs of their family and
keep things modest in their manner of living.
Myrna belongs to the Greek-Melkite Catholic rite and Nicolas to
the Antiochian Greek-Orthodox rite. In the Middle East, the woman
generally goes to the religion of her husband. But Myrna explained to
me that she preferred to adhere to the Melkite Catholic rite and such is
favored by her children. At any rate, relations between Orthodox and
Catholics in Damascus are excellent and there was no problem for
Nicolas. The Vatican recognizes that there is a unique situation in Syria
where the Catholic Church and the Syriac Orthodox are nearing com-
plete union.
On a Sunday, September 16, 2001, I was able to meet George Jilo,
Orthodox Archpriest of St. Elais Church which is near the Virgin’s
House of Soufanieh. He had just completed celebrating the divine litur-
gy for Sunday and came from the sacristy to meet me. When I asked
him if he believed in Our Lady of Soufanieh, he was surprised at my
question. He said, “What kind of question is that? Of course, who would
not love her?” Then he quickly walked away.
I later discovered that he did not want to get involved as he knew I
Chapter 3. Signs of the Fingers of God Here
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was present to write a book on Soufanieh and feared my questions, for
his patriarch had told him not to get involved publicly.
Nicolas told me that Archpriest Jilo and Archbishop Boulos Pandali
were the first to see the oil on November 22, 1982. “We called them when
it happened. The Icon used to be kept in our bedroom. [Both of them]
took off their shoes before entering the bedroom. . . .”
Then Nicolas continued: “In January 1983, the Orthodox Patriarch
decided to transfer the Icon to the Church. Forty-five days later, two
other Orthodox priests brought it back. They were authorized by the
patriarch to bring it back.”
That is the way Nicolas told it to me and it is correct. But I was to
discover there is more to it.
Nicolas has a special connection to the Icon. While traveling to
Sofia, Bulgaria, Nicolas had bought ten small inexpensive replicas of an
icon of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child. They were framed in
cheap plastic. They were given as gifts to seven homes of his relatives.
The small reproductions of the icon would become known throughout
the world because of the way our Lord and his Mother would use it.
Beginning on November 22, 1982, the Nazzour home, in the
Christian neighborhood of Soufanieh in Damascus, was to become the
center for unusual and naturally unexplainable events. Myrna had been
married to Nicolas only about six to seven months. She had just turned
18 when she married Nicolas (38). The phenomenon happened when
she was praying with other members of her family while visiting her sick
sister-in-law. Suddenly Myrna began shivering, some force seeming to
be coming from inside her, as she described it. Oil had just started exud-
ing from her hands.
The second time, Myrna was at her own home. It happened on the
anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Cather-
ine Labouré (at the rue du Bac in Paris, France) in 1830. Myrna was
hardly aware of the coincidence of dates. When it was realized later they
could find nothing in their native language written about the apparitions
to St. Catherine concerning the miraculous medal. Oil this time started
to exude from a small Icon (6 × 8cm; 2.4 × 3.2 inches) which Nicolas
had bought in July 1980, at the Alexandre Nevsky Orthodox church
when he was in Sofia, Bulgaria.
This small Icon replica, thought to be based on the Icon of the Virgin
of Kazan, so popular in Russia, is made of paper, not like original icons
painted on wood. The slowly oozing of oil from the Icon occurred
according to the liturgical cycle of Christian feasts until November 26,
1990. During those years, the phenomenon was interrupted for approxi-
mately one year, from November 26, 1985, to November 26, 1986.
The atmosphere of peace and prayer never ceased at Soufanieh. Not
one drop of oil exuded during this time and no apparitions occurred.
Christ’s message on November 26, 1985, had said: “. . . and if my absence
52
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lasts, and the light disappears from you, do not fear; this will be for my
glorification.”
It was on November 27, 1982, that Myrna, while doing her home
duties, noticed two icons placed side by side. One of them was one of
the ten small reproductions that Nicolas had bought from Bulgaria. She
noticed it was very shiny. Taking it in her hands to study, she realized
that drops of oil were forming on the glass cover protecting the image.
Surprised, she ran with the image to her husband. Nicolas couldn’t
believe his eyes and trembled as he took the Icon from Myrna’s hands
and placed it on a little plate so that the oil would not fall to the floor.
The plate quickly filled with olive oil. Then he placed the Icon in a larg-
er tray. Both knelt down, overwhelmed, not knowing what to do. They
wondered: how could oil flow so profusely out a picture of an icon print-
ed on plain paper?
Nicolas then called for the rest of his family to come over. Myrna
meanwhile remained alone, fearful. Then she heard a woman’s voice:
“My daughter Mary, don’t fear, I am with you. Open the doors, don’t
deprive anyone from my sight.” [Myrna’s proper name is Mary.]
Returning with his family and friends, Nicolas became afraid of
what would result because of this new experience which he could not
explain nor understand. Then he demanded from all the people present
that this experience must be kept a secret to keep away the curious. But
Myrna interrupted:
“No, Nicolas, I heard a woman’s voice telling me to open the doors
and not to deprive anyone from her sight. . . .” Nicolas at that moment
agreed to his wife’s request. They would open the doors of their home.
The Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate was informed. The patriarch
came quickly on November 27, 1982, accompanied by two priests. The
archbishops and priests knelt with Myrna to pray. Then again oil
appeared on Myrna’s hands. The bishop had asked for a sign in his heart
showing the presence of the Virgin Mary. So when the oil formed, the
bishop was touched with emotion. As the bishop was about to leave,
Myrna wanted to kiss his hands, but he refused, saying, “No, my daugh-
ter, we should be blessed by you.” It was then Myrna who exploded in
tears, saying, “This is something that I don’t deserve.”
News of the unusual events at Soufanieh spread rapidly through
Damascus, even to the government. On Sunday, November 28, 1982,
the Nazzour family received a visit from the state security. These times
of the supernatural occurrences were troublesome times in Syria as there
was an economic crisis, which required a considerable police network. It
was felt, “This is not the time to attract attention!”
Police officer Akram Abboud entered the Soufanieh house to make
his investigation. Mrs. Chahade Hanoun at that very time was explain-
ing to Myrna how to pray the Rosary as several people were asking that
the Rosary be recited before the Icon.
Chapter 3. Signs of the Fingers of God Here
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The security officer completed his report, took some photos, and
later that afternoon came back with three of his colleagues and a physi-
cian, Dr. Saliba Abdel Ahad. They asked Myrna to wash her hands with
soap in front of them and to wipe her hands with the white paper hand-
kerchiefs they gave her. Returning to the living room, the four agents
surrounded the young woman with the physician standing before her.
They asked her to pray and she did at once. Myrna’s hands were now
covered with oil.
Dr. Saliba rubbed the palms of Myrna hands and for a long time,
observed the oil oozing from them. One agent asked: “What do you
think, doctor?” The doctor pointed to the heavens saying: “This is
God’s work.”
There had been a rumor that the Icon was fed oil through small
pipes; so one of the agents asked the family for permission to disassem-
ble it. The agent, after carefully examining the wall, took the small Icon
from its plastic setting. He accidentally tore the top right corner (which
I observed yet in September, 2001 when I was there to do research for
this book). Immediately afterwards, oil flowed from the small picture
causing the agent to shake. He then placed the image into its original
setting, prayed a short time and then all left. From that time on the
house of Soufanieh has welcomed members of the government and of
the army, not for investigation, but for prayer.
The same evening of November 28, Fr. Elias Zahlaoui arrived at the
Nazzour home. He is well-known in Damascus, an academic at the uni-
versity. He is vicar of Our Lady of Damascus Greek-Catholic rite
parish. He enjoys the confidence and respect of his bishop. When I
interviewed the Melkite Catholic Patriarch, Gregory III, he encouraged
me to interview Fr. Elias Zahlaoui about the details of Soufanieh. I
assured the Patriarch that I had already done so.
To review for readers who may not be acquainted with the initial
events of Soufanieh, Fr. Elias Zahlaoui at first had refused to go to the
Soufanieh house to investigate. Such is typical of priests when there is
excitement about reported miraculous happenings. The Church, thus
most priests, are always most cautious. Members of the parish choir
which Fr. Elias had founded and organized encouraged him to go to see
what his opinion would be. Fr. Zahlaoui said to me: “At first I did not
believe supernatural things were happening here at Soufanieh and I
kicked people from my office who insisted I go see. I did this twice.”
Fr. Zahlaoui continued: “Finally I said, ‘OK. I will go and see.’ It was
November 28, 1982, the second day, as it started November 27, 1982.
When I came I saw many people, notably Myrna and Nicolas. All the
people were surprised and shocked to see me. I noticed their honesty. I
noticed from a sign they were refusing money. This touched me. Then I
started to see signs, prayer, calmness, peace; not typical of Arab people.
Then I saw oil come from the small Icon on my first visit. I asked for
54
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cotton with oil. As usual we put it in a small plastic bag and when I
looked around at all the people praying I started singing with them. I
then looked at my hand, holding the plastic bag, with the cotton and
now there was much oil in my hand. I thought it came out of the bag,
but it was closed and the oil in the cotton was not sufficient for this.
“I then asked to meet Myrna and Nicolas. I noticed that they were
honest but shocked, afraid themselves that this is happening. I asked to
talk to Myrna alone. I found her simple, afraid and honest. After this I
joined Myrna before the Icon for prayer. During the prayer the oil began
to come from the Icon and come very strongly, like boiling, from
Myrna’s hands. There was so much oil it fell on the floor. Myrna was
praying a very simple prayer: ‘Virgin Mary, you are the source. People are
coming for you, not for me. I kiss your feet [meaning, I beg you], don’t
allow the oil to come only from my hands. You are the first. Don’t stop
oil from the Icon.’ She repeated this prayer.”
Notice, it was after refusing twice, that Fr. Elias Zahlaoui finally
went because of the insistence of the young persons, whom he knew to
be serious and balanced. Still, he went only “to please them.”
A more detailed account goes like this:
About 7 p.m., Fr. Elias arrived with the young people and found a
crowd at the front of the house. Making his way in, Fr. Elias was taken
to the young Nazzour couple’s room. The first thing he noticed was the
deep prayer atmosphere in the house. Entering the room the priest
asked to see the Icon. He first noticed something like tears flowing slow-
ly on the plastic covering the small Icon. He asked for a small piece of
cotton moistened with oil. He placed it in a small nylon bag. The young
people who came with Fr. Elias also received small pieces of cotton
moistened with the oil. Joining the prayer group a few minutes later, Fr.
Zahlaoui noticed the palm of his right hand was filled with oil and the
nylon bag he had was not pierced.
When a hymn was completed, Fr. Zahlaoui was taken to the lounge
where he asked to talk with Myrna. He wanted to test the sincerity and
honesty of the young woman. Later he wrote in his diary: “These peo-
ple were sincere and awe-struck by what happened under their eyes.”
That same evening, while he was talking with Myrna, her sister
Lina entered and asked: “Father, could you come in Myrna’s room with
Myrna to pray, because the oil has stopped oozing from the picture?”
Being tempted at first to decline, he accepted in order to get close
to the Icon. Fr. Zahlaoui knelt behind Myrna facing the Icon. He prayed
silently for several minutes. Then he heard Myrna saying a personal
prayer:
“Oh, Virgin, you are the source. . . . People come for you, not for
me. . . . Don’t allow the oil to ooze from my hands and stop from your
Icon. . . .Virgin, You are the source. . . . Don’t permit that the oil stops
oozing from your picture. . . .”
Chapter 3. Signs of the Fingers of God Here
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Fr. Zahlaoui was impressed with the innocence and depth of this
prayer. Without turning around, Myrna said to the priest, “I feel that the
Virgin has penetrated inside me.”
Fr. Zahlaoui shook when he heard what the young woman was say-
ing and which he did not quite understand. At the same time he saw oil
appear abundantly on Myrna’s palms and fingers, forming bubbles, as if
boiling. Drops built up again on the glass cover of the Icon.
Fr. Zahlaoui said that he then felt like he was in another world.
That same evening, Fr. Elias Zahlaoui reported the facts to his bish-
op, Archbishop François Abou-Mokh. The latter listened attentively
and said: “Pursue your observation, Fr. Elias, but I don’t need to recom-
mend to you to be prudent.”
When I interviewed Fr. Elias Zahlaoui in September, 2001 he
explained to me that the archbishop had said to him: “Keep me in-
formed. Be involved, watch, careful for what is going on.”
I interviewed Fr. Zahlaoui from within the Nazzour home where the
unusual events had been taking place for about 20 years. He said: “For
about a month I watched what is going on here. On December 29, 1982,
I went to the same archbishop and reported what had happened during the
month. It was then that this archbishop helped me to meet the Orthodox
Patriarch and told him what was going on in the house of Soufanieh.”
Fr. Zahlaoui continued: “On December 30, 1982, the archbishop
met with the Orthodox patriarch at 8 a.m. Then Myrna and Nicolas met
the patriarch at 9 a.m.
The Antiochian Greek-Orthodox patriarch received the young cou-
ple most graciously. He informed them that the Icon would be trans-
ferred to the Orthodox Byzantine Church of the Holy Cross which is
about 500 meters from the Soufanieh house. Nicolas was saddened by
this. He had hoped that the Icon would be exposed for veneration in
several Christian churches in Damascus, not only Orthodox. However,
Nicolas kept his disappointment to himself. Later he shared his disap-
pointment with Fr. Zahlaoui who asked him to accept the decision in
obedience to the hierarchy of the Church as to the Lord himself. The
patriarch is Nicolas’s ecclesiastical head. The patriarch said, “I’ll make
some flyers of declaration to tell all the priests and people.”
Fr. Zahlaoui further explained that the transfer of the Icon to the
church amounted to an official and a popular recognition of the phe-
nomenon. The priest also explained that ecumenical prayer was result-
ing. People of all kinds, even non-believers, were coming to pray at the
feet of the Virgin of Soufanieh, the Icon. Perhaps the Virgin Mary
wanted that kind of prayer of unity at the Orthodox Church to prepare
the unity of hearts, and especially a unity of hearts for Christians.
Fr. Zahlaoui gave me a copy of the communiqué which was issued
by the Chancery Office of the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate in Damas-
cus as translated from the original in Arabic. It follows:
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So as to enlighten the minds of what has been and is still being said,
on what is happening in one of our blessed families at Soufanieh, the
Patriarchate deems it useful to explain the following:
1. Miracles are ordinary things for God, even if they do not appear
so for us, because He is the Almighty, it is He who created the laws of
nature, it is He who can override them whenever He decides. Without
Him, can anything be blessed or any healing take place?
2. The home in which a vision out of the ordinary has occurred is a
home of believers and of an Orthodox family proud of its faith and where
nobody pretends to be a saint as many imagine. Mrs. Marie [baptismal
name] is gentle and humble and her husband is an active worshipper and
both of them see in God an outstanding benefactor of the home, which
has been founded thanks to His blessings and complacency.
3. It has happened for the See of Antioch to witness several phe-
nomena which strengthen the faith. Sednaya and Maaloula remain an
active field of God’s work. And all those phenomena would appear at
times and then disappear, thus becoming a usual pattern in the life of
the Holy Church. [Sednaya and Maloula: two villages north of Damas-
cus (30 and 60 kms / 20 and 40 miles), where three famous pilgrimage
centers are present. Sednaya is dedicated to the Blessed Mother.]
4. The acknowledgement of a miracle is a difficult and infinitely seri-
ous matter. To prove it, there are several objective criteria that can only be
performed by medical specialists expressly designated by the Church in
order to analyze the history of the illness so as to be able to prove, after a
period of time, that the healing has indeed taken place and that it has been
realized in a supernatural manner. One has to make sure that the healing
is total, complete, and permanent, because the Lord does not accomplish
things partially. If all these criteria are not realized, the Church cannot rec-
ognize the existence of a miracle. But in all cases, it acknowledges the favor
of God and its misericord towards us, His creatures.
5. This is why, we address ourselves to the faithful requesting them
to continue offering their thanksgiving to the Lord of heaven and earth
and to stop any exaggeration in their words or any excitement in their
behavior so that it does not turn against God, the Church, the blessed
family Akhrass and Nazzour.
6. We also declare that the Holy Icon will be transferred from the
house in which it is presently located to the Church of the Holy Cross,
where a suitable place for praising the Lord and His Mother, the Holy
Virgin is to be found.
We request the worshippers not to impose to Mrs. Marie
(Nazzour) and to her husband what cannot be supported. May God
maintain His grace upon you, strengthen you and bestow His blessings
on our faithful people.
Damascus, 31 December 1982
Signed by: The Head of the Chancery
of the Antiochian Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate in Damascus
Chapter 3. Signs of the Fingers of God Here
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Stigmata Suffered during Holy Week, 2001
Myrna suffered wounds of the Stigmata (Holy Week, 2001). In top photo, notice
position of hands early in suffering—fingers placed as in Eastern way of blessing.
In bottom photo, she appears to sense a thorn wound in her head.
58
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Stigmata Suffered during Holy Week, 2001
Wounds appear in her side, hands and feet, in imitation of Jesus’ wounds upon the
Cross.
59
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Soon the first visitors began to arrive. Now, 20 years later, thousands
of visitors have come to their modest home to pray, including people of
various religious persuasions, priests, archbishops, papal nuncios, et al.
Even patriarchs have shown favor.
The visits which began on Saturday, November 27, 1982, have never
ceased.Their house of Soufanieh becomes the Virgin’s House, a place of pil-
grimage and prayer, just as requested by the Virgin Mary in her message.
In the days following, the prayer program became more organized.
The Acathist hymn and the Rosary became frequent prayers at Soufan-
ieh. There was time for personal or spontaneous prayers. Supplications
to the Mother of God in the Acathist prayers were used plus others,
frequently the following: “Hail, Source of the Holy Oil which brings
about healing.”
The first religious community that came to Soufanieh to observe
the phenomenon was the Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, led by
Mother Monique Battikha, their superior general.
What about the sign of oil? Dr. Philippe Loron, neurologist, has
made at Damascus a specific study and taken scientific tests. It is indeed
100 percent olive oil we experience at Soufanieh and other parts of the
world associated with Our Lady of Soufanieh.
C
Regarding the stigmata: it is to be noted that the very first time
Myrna received this sign it was not Holy Week.
The first indication that stigmatization was about the enter into
Myrna’s life was on October 24, 1983. Myrna went into ecstasy about 2
p.m. and again about 7 p.m. She remembered nothing of what happened
in these ecstasies.
However, four days later, Friday, October 28, 1983, Myrna spoke of
feeling sensations in the palms of her hands as though they were being
pierced by a sharp pointed object. That evening, from 6:20 until 6:50,
she went into ecstasy during which she saw the Virgin Mary. Myrna’s
account of this is as follows:
“I was in the clouds and saw my Mother, the Virgin. She smiled at
me and I smiled back as if she was my sister and companion. She was
standing while I was nearly crouched down. Her smile changed to sever-
ity and she told me: ‘Go down and tell them that you are my daughter
before being theirs.’ I obeyed immediately. I saw them all crying around
my body lying on the bed. How did I see that? I don’t know, and I told
them: ‘Nouha (name of Myrna’s mother), I am her daughter before
being yours’ and I went back to the Virgin Mary. She then tells me: ‘My
heart has been consumed on my only Son and it won’t be consumed on
all my children.’ I then came out of the ecstasy and opened my eyes.”
It is important to remember that the Virgin’s words were not spo-
ken in English and the translation from Arabic is difficult at times and
a literal translation into English does not always convey the message
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accurately or adequately. As in all languages there is the written or
classical language and the spoken language which has slang or colloqui-
al ways of speaking.
It was explained to me from the Soufanieh community that the
meaning of the Virgin’s message was as follows: “When the Virgin Mary
said: ‘My heart has been consumed on my only Son and it won’t be con-
sumed on all my children’ it is not that the Virgin Mother is uncon-
cerned about her spiritual children in the order of grace. The meaning
would rather be like this as used by the Virgin: ‘When my Son died on
the cross I could not help (but only offer Him to the Father for the sal-
vation of souls). I could not do anything else and I was disabled but now
I will not leave my children. I want to help save and deliver all of my
children. I don’t want my heart to be broken again.’”
“I am her daughter before being yours.” This is not a put-down to
one’s own individual or biological mother. Holy Mary who is the
Mother of Grace, the Mother of the Church, the Mother of us all in the
order of grace, is a Motherhood that is something of a much higher and
of the supernatural order. It is vastly superior over what biological moth-
erhood could ever be.
On Monday, October 31 at 2:45 p.m., three days after Myrna expe-
rienced the sharp pains in her hands and being lifted up, oil appeared on
her hands, feet, side and forehead. Small swellings of the flesh started to
appear in the middle of her palms. At 7:04, oil exuded from Myrna
again. She then experienced the same sensation in her hands of the pre-
vious Friday and now it also appeared on her feet.
On Friday, November 4, 1983, a slightly bloodied wound, .75 inch,
appeared on her side. On Friday, November 24, 1983, at 4:15 p.m. the
wound on her side bled again. Blood came from the palms of her hands
and feet at about 5 p.m.—from the same places where she had felt the
pains on October 28.
Physicians were called to come and observe the wounds. They were
Drs. Jamil Marji, Joseph Nasrallah, Eli Barsa, Jean Siage, Joseph
Massamiri, Georges Mounayer, Elie Farah. Dr. Massamire took blood
samples for analysis. The blood was truly Myrna’s. The wounds disap-
peared about 10 p.m., leavening no scars. For the next eight days small
reddish stains similar to haematomas remained under the epidermis.
On this day, November 25, 1983, Myrna went into ecstasy from 8
p.m. until 8:20 and had a vision of the Virgin who was slightly elevated
from the way she had appeared during previous ecstasies when the
Virgin Mary and Myrna were at the same level. It is worth noting again
that “heaven does nothing for nothing.” There is a meaning in every-
thing. This is how the Virgin Mother spoke on the occasion:
“This is all I want. I have not come to separate. Your married life
will remain as it is.” Then she had a magnificent serene smile and said:
“Would you like to come to me?” Myrna answered positively matching
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gestures with words. “Come . . . Your willingness to come to me is
enough.” Myrna tried to reach her, but was not able to.”
Myrna is here reassured that her vocation in life is marriage and the
Virgin would never separate a true Christian marriage. Attaining Mary
in a physical way, like when Myrna once was able to touch Mary like a
physical body, is not what is important. The desire to come to Mary, the
desire for union with Jesus and Mary, to have them spiritually in our
hearts, is already to have it accomplished in the order of grace. That is
true for every Christian living in grace.
While the first signs of the stigmata on Myrna were not during
Holy Week and were smaller, as if in preparation for what would occur
on Holy Thursday, April 19, 1984, when the stigmata reappeared on her
body and bleeding, the wound on her side measured four inches.
In Holy Week 2001 Dr. Philippe Loron went to Damascus again
after 11 years since he first experienced the stigmata in Myrna. He
desired to experience the expected stigmata and exuding of oil which
occurs when Orthodox and Catholics celebrate Holy Week, the Feast of
Easter, at the same time.
Of the events of Holy Week 2001 he wrote as follows:
“First of all, I attest as a scientist, with the same credibility as in
1990, to the following:
1. Myrna’s equilibrium and naturalness, a very simple person, is not
subject to any pathological psychiatry, while her family life is steadily
assumed, all year-long, irrespectively of the affluence of pilgrims in her
home, while welcoming them whole heartedly (and in total gratuitous-
ness).
2. The stigmata, which are authentic wounds, finely marked, with
or without blood circulation, and whose healing (without infection) do
not require any prior medical precaution.
3. The ecstasy is preceded by an oozing of oil on her skin—an unex-
plainable fact—during which Myrna is bathed into an interior celestial
light, appears as a ‘living’ Icon.
“As to the small image, safely kept under key, its oozing cannot be
explained: prior analyses had revealed it to yield olive oil that is incred-
ibly pure.
“These three facts are amazingly coherent. Why after eleven years
of absence? Because the stigmata, reminding us of the Passion of Our
Lord, occurs on Holy Thursday in the body of Myrna, only during the
years when the Feast of Easter is celebrated at the same date for the
Catholics and for the Orthodox—that is, when their calendars take into
account the usual discrepancy. This was the case in 1984, 1987, 1990 and
finally 2001. The messages given to Myrna by the Virgin Mary and
Jesus Christ from 1983 until 1990 insist on Christian unity, beginning
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with the unification of the magnificent Feast of the Resurrection of
Christ Jesus, foundation of our faith.
“The ‘Paulinian’ tint of the Messages, in the place of Paul’s sudden
conversion, strongly reminds us of the life of the early Christian com-
munities. Our Pope invites to unity: ‘That they may be one’ (1995
encyclical), while referring to an image of a Church that should breathe
with its two lungs, East and West. This unity is certainly urgent in this
area of the world which is predominantly Muslim, and so close to the
Holy Land that is in an explosive state and has been for years. It is only
then—and only on this condition—as Jesus has prayed to His Father,
that the world will recognize Him as the Messiah ( John 17:21). But,
peace is an important priority, while relying on numerous conversions.
“Myrna is already a sign of unity by the juxtaposition of the Catholic
mystical phenomena (apparitions and stigmata) and the Orthodox ones
(oozing of miraculous oil, icon); also by the example of her family, she is
a Catholic married to an Orthodox, both of Byzantine rite.
“Christ’s message this year impressed us tremendously. In Easter
1990, Jesus had told Myrna that she will not hear His voice until the
Feast [of Easter] is unified, we must then welcome it as a firm and con-
fident appeal to the full concordance of the dates in the future. The
Greek-Catholic Church (of Byzantine rite, called Melkite) has recently
been assigned a new patriarch in Damascus who would be (finally!)
agreeable to a single date for the Feast of Easter—even if it means the
adopting the Orthodox date as a sign of reconciliation among the sister
churches.
“The last three Apostolic Nuncios in Syria were quite favorable
towards Myrna, without, of course, implicating the Church in a final
judgment, because Myrna, given the dispositions in the Middle-East,
belongs, for the time given, to the Orthodox Patriarchate (through her
husband). At the end of the Easter Mass, in company of an enthusiastic
group of twelve pilgrims from Tahiti, we have received the wishes of the
new Nuncio. He was quite impressed when some of the pilgrims told
him the reason of their visit to Damascus: a pilgrimage at Soufanieh (the
pilgrims from Tahiti had traveled some 22,000 kilometers!)
“Patience, wisdom and hope: these virtues re-emphasized in this last
message are necessary in order to obtain peace in mutual respect. The
Gospel in practice.”
[Above from Chretiens Magazine, No. 141, pp. 18-19 (France) and
translated by Association Notre-Dame-de-Soufanieh à Montreal
(Canada).
]
Fr. Elias Zahlaoui said that no one was able to see the actual oozing
of oil that happened very early Saturday, thought to be around 1:30 a.m.
This coincided with the arrival of Fr. Fadi Tabet from Beirut, Lebanon.
“We were all very happy to see the presence of oil in the glass cupola
placed under the Icon, three drops of oil are suspended to its modest
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plastic base until today, April 21, 2001. This oozing occurred after a rad-
ical interruption of 11 years; that is, since the dawn of Easter 1990.”
All the above is non-rational to many intellectuals but the common
man is edified at such signs. People who are open to signs from heaven
and disposed to faith will be open to the signs at Soufanieh. People who
pray are open to signs. What needs to be addressed for unity is the great
need for more prayer “that all may be one.” One cannot be a true
Christian without desiring unity. Pride must be put aside and prayer for
unity must be constant. All must turn to prayer for without prayer love
cannot escalate in their hearts. Without love, there cannot be harmony
in a world so divided.
If the intellectual has deep faith and knows Scripture and is gifted
with the important virtue of humility he is not scandalized but edified
at signs for unity. Is not the Holy Virgin and Jesus reminding us that
man himself is the greatest Icon of God. We can read this in Genesis
1:26. The Soufanieh Icon shedding oil is still a piece of paper imprint-
ed with Mary and the Christ Child. Oil oozing from a living human
body is a living Icon of God.
At the end of a century, and the beginning of a new millennium,
when the great dignity of every human life is often forgotten, set aside,
desecrated—the great importance of man, of human life, in God’s eyes
and thoughts is made visible. If the intellectual wants to bristle so be it.
His intelligence is less than a drop compared to the infinite divine intel-
lect. How sad if the proud man does not use his intelligence properly.
Is it not interesting while some liturgists are anxious to do away with
signs, our Lady is offering us signs that say: “The finger of God is here”
(Luke 11:20). In the liturgy, as liturgists said, many signs used were not
essential, e.g., salt at baptism, many gestures of adoration, such as the
genuflection during the Credo or double genuflection before the Holy
Eucharist in the monstrance. Yet Our Lady is offering us signs that are
appealing to hundreds of thousands of Christians throughout the world
in the form of oil and the stigmata.
Oil is rich in symbolism in the Middle East. The olive tree is seen
as the tree of peace. It is sometimes said that if the olive tree is not
harmed, it never dies. Oil is a symbol of light. It is a symbol also of
strength and healing.
Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan where oil was poured on
the wounds of the man injured and left to die on the road. Already in
the Old Testament oil was a symbol of the royal and messianic unction.
Does not the outpouring of oil signify the sweetness of God? Does
it not tell how the Holy Spirit penetrates our hearts and brings his power
of healing? Does not the sweet odor tell of the overflowing of God’s love
and gentleness? Would the intellectuals forbid God to use tangible signs
of His presence and action?
There are people considered wise who scoff at the reports of oil issu-
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ing from a human being or an icon. In some cases the “wise” meant here
are theologians. Even some theologians today are unable to deal with the
religious questions unless they look at them with the language and wis-
dom of natural science and mathematics. But miracles are above the laws
of nature. God is not bound to his own laws he established in nature, in
the world. He can give special signs of his presence and power when he so
chooses. In the case of oil emanating from the Icon and Myrna, the oil has
God for its source. It is obviously being created by God for the occasion.
It is a sign of God’s blessings descending upon his people. The ver-
dant olive tree is in Scripture the symbol of the just man blessed with God
(Pss. 52:10; 128:3; cf. Sir. 50:10). Oil is a symbol too of divine wisdom
which reveals the way of justice and happiness (Sir. 24:14, 19-23).
In Zech. 4:11, 14 there is mention of two olive trees which provid-
ed oil for the lamps which represented the “two sons of oil,” the “two
anointed of God”; the king and the high priest whose work was to teach
the people. Oil was used to anoint the king (Ps. 45) and a sign of divine
election which accompanies the outpouring of the Spirit (1 Sam. 10:1-
10; 13, 16).
Oil is the sacramental sign of the multiple graces and gifts of the
Spirit given to Christians. Jesus is the Anointed One par excellence (Heb.
1:9, Ps. 5:8) signifying and proclaiming the unity of Christ.
Oil associated with Soufanieh has been scientifically analyzed six
times and in different laboratories in Europe and in Syria. Each time the
analyses agree that it is 100 percent pure olive oil. Some cures have been
reported through use of this oil. Some spiritual conversions have also
happened in association with the oil.
Oil exudes from Myrna’s hands during ecstasies. The oil comes from
the palm of the hand, right or left or both. Sometimes oil appears on the
back of her hands. During private prayer, such as when Myrna and Fr.
Elias Zahlaoui have prayed in front of the Icon, oil has appeared bub-
bling in Myrna’s hands. This happened on November 28, 1982. Oil has
exuded in sufficient quantity to anoint all of the people that presented
themselves before her, as many as 5,000 persons as was the case in
Australia in 1993.
Oil once exuded from her feet during the ecstasy of November 26,
1984. Oil emanated from Myrna’s throat when she regurgitated fragrant
oil three times and in quantity during the triduum on the sight loss in
November, 1984. There were three days of total fasting, with loss of
Myrna’s sight when she could see only religious objects and had a strong
interior light. Her only food then was the daily Holy Eucharist.
Oil has also exuded from Myrna’s whole face and neck during
ecstasies and sometimes on the anniversary date of the phenomenon of
Soufanieh, November 26. Oil has exuded when in a rectory with priests
and laity; also from a medal of the Virgin Mary around her neck at
Bloudane and Hassake.
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Oil has exuded from Myrna’s face during ecstasies; sometimes on
the anniversary date of the phenomenon of Soufanieh and during
Eucharistic celebrations, generally during the common Holy Week
among Catholics and Orthodox.
Oil has exuded from the eyes and from the face during ecstasies
when Myrna sees Jesus Christ. Fr. Elias Zahlaoui explains it this way:
“Usually an ecstasy is preceded by an exudation of oil from the
hands, face or neck of Myrna. When she is about to see Jesus Christ, oil
comes out also through her eyes and burns them before she goes into
ecstasy. This stage is followed by the ecstasy itself, that is to say, the state
of disconnection with the external world. During this phase Myrna does
not see, hear, nor feel. Her body is stiff. She sees Jesus Christ in the form
of a Person made up of light without distinguishing His face, which is
not the case with the Holy Virgin Mary. After having seen Jesus Christ,
she returns to her normal state, and takes time to recover her normal
sight: her interior light prevents her from seeing anything. She has
remained in this state during 72 consecutive hours, from November 26
until 29, 1984, inclusive.
“Often, one to four physicians would be present during the ecstasies.
A number of medical tests have been undertaken mainly on her sight,
sensitivity and reflexes: all were negative. Besides the first two ecstasies
of Monday, October 24, 1983, which have not been timed, the duration
of the other ecstasies has varied between five and 75 minutes. Most of
these ecstasies have been recorded on video tapes. These ecstasies were
accompanied most of the time with messages summarizing the impor-
tant Christian realities: The Trinity, the Incarnation, Divine Paternity,
the mediation of the Virgin Mary, deserving the Kingdom of Heaven,
repentance to the Lord, the necessity of constant prayer and fasting, the
sanctity of marriage, a pressing appeal for the unity of the Church and
the role of the laity in the work of unity.”
This exudation of oil by Myrna has also happened when bishops of
several rites (Catholic: Archbishop Georges Riachi and Orthodox:
Archbishop Afram Aboody) participated in common prayer. This hap-
pened in Australia in 1993.
When is the oil especially known to exude from Myrna’s hands? It
first happened while giving her testimony to the Syrian Orthodox
Patriarch, Zakka I (Damascus). Also while giving her testimony to the
Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, Shenouda III (Egypt). Likewise while giv-
ing her testimony to the Coptic Catholic Patriarch, Stephanos I
(Egypt). It has happened in the presence of the Greek Melkite Catholic
Patriarch, Maximos Hakim V.
The places and circumstances are many where the phenomenon has
occurred. These include while praying the Rosary, while singing, giving
her testimony or while distributing pictures of Our Lady of Soufanieh.
It has happened in monasteries, in the private chapel of the Apostolic
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Nuncio of Syria. It has happened in the presence of atheists, agnostics,
Protestants, while giving her testimony on the terrace of the Appari-
tions; during baptisms, during marriages, while praying for a sick per-
son. It happened during the funeral of Fr. Joseph Malouli in March,
2000. (Fr. Malouli, who was previously a spiritual director to Myrna,
died on March 5, 2000.) The occasions are innumerable and are by no
means all listed in this chapter or book.
One of the messages of the Virgin Mary given to Myrna on
November 26, 1990, was:
“As to the oil, it will continue to appear on your hands for the glo-
rification of My Son Jesus, whenever He wants it and wherever you go,
because We are with you and with whoever wishes that the Feast (of
Easter) is unified.”
The oil continued to exude from Myrna frequently during the 11
long years it did not flow from the Icon—from the dawn of Easter in
1990 until April 21, 2001, when the Orthodox and Catholics again cel-
ebrated the Feast of Easter at the same time.
God is making Himself intensely present. The Virgin is manifest-
ing her powerful intercession today. All this in a world, even among
many Christians, grown cold to God and whose faith, often, at best, is
but a dead faith. God and his Mother are calling all back to a living faith
and love. When at Damascus, minutes from where St. Paul the Apostle
was converted, and from where he went on to change the world, God
and His Mother are sending us the sign of oil and all that oil signifies.
This is time for serious reflection. It is time for the scales to fall from the
eyes of many who believe “God is Great” as well as from millions who
call themselves Christian but give little evidence of a Christian life of
faith and morals.
God is calling all to unity in his Son, Jesus Christ.
Why Oil as a Sign?
The phenomenon of oil associated with the Virgin of Soufanieh is
not a first time in history. Miracles with oil are not new or unique in
Catholic history but extend back for centuries. “Oil of Saints” has long
existed in the Church. Oily substances which have been seen flowing
from relics or burial places of certain saints have long been known. The
oil that burns in their shrine lamps, and water that may come from wells
near their graves, are recorded in history. Such oils, used by the faithful,
have been known to have curative powers.
Among famous miraculous oils are those associated with St.
Walburga, abbess of Heidenheim, Bavaria. She died in 780 and her body
was brought to Eichstadt, Bavaria, May 1, 870. In 893, oil was discov-
ered flowing intermittently from her relics which now rest at Eichstadt.
Chapter 3. Signs of the Fingers of God Here
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Fox. Light from the East—Miracles of Our Lady of Soufanieh
There is also the oil of St. Menas, which comes from a holy well at
Mareotis in the Libyan desert near the saint’s national shrine.
Oil has exuded at the shrine of St. Nicholas of Myra, a saint famous
in both the East and the West. The oil has been seen to exude from his
relics in Bari, Italy.
Three Kinds of Oils Used by the Church
There are three kinds of Holy Oils blessed by the bishop as sacra-
mentals and used by the Church. There is the Oil of Catechumens, Holy
Chrism, and Oil of the Sick. The holy oils are symbols of spiritual nour-
ishment and the light of grace.
Oil is used in the administration of some of the Sacraments of the
Church. Olive oil is blessed by the bishop of the diocese for use in the
Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. “Is there anyone sick among
you? He should ask for the presbyters of the Church. They in turn are
to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord. This
prayer uttered in faith will reclaim the one who is ill, and the Lord will
restore him to health. If he has committed any sins, forgiveness will be
his” ( Jas. 5:15).
Consecrated oil is used in anointing the hands when a priest is
ordained. The hands of the priest are used in dispensing the mysteries of
Christ, through his hands the grace of Jesus Christ is bestowed.
The oil of Holy Chrism is used in the administration of Confir-
mation. Chrism is a consecrated mixture of olive oil and balsam, blessed
by a bishop and used for Confirmation and Holy Orders. Confirmation
brings the Holy Spirit to souls in a new and special way. The consecrat-
ed oil is essential for the validity of the Sacrament. It is also used in the
blessing of tower bells, and in the consecration of churches, altars, chal-
ices and patens.
Oil purifies and soothes. Oil is a sign of healing and comforting, the
bringing of joy. It is used to strengthen the body and to bring light to
men. Oil is a special sign of the Holy Spirit.
Soufanieh Is for the Family
In the use of the oil healings have taken place from cases of cancer,
bone-related illnesses, complicated pregnancy, the crippled, etc. In
homes where oil has been manifested it has the result in bringing the
family back to communal family prayer. Soufanieh is very much associ-
ated with a call to the family for love and unity in Christ Jesus.
While the oil that comes from the body of Myrna does not stain the
bed or personal clothing, it rather evaporates.
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On Wednesday, February 20, 2002, a large reproduction of the
Soufanieh Icon gave oil in unusual circumstances. It was about 11 p.m.
before others joined in prayer in the Claire Saadi home before the Icon
and photos with the oil exuding, after they had been alerted late in the
day. The concern and experience, starting so late, would go into February
21, which would prove to be a special anniversary.
Claire Saadi called Maya Patsalides about 10:40 p.m. to report that
in her house, in the sitting room where there is a big reproduction of
Our Lady of Soufanieh Icon (30 × 40 cm.), it was shedding oil. The
Soufanieh Icon was placed on a table with many other icons and pictures
on the table.
At 9 p.m., February 20, Marlene, the sister of Claire, and Maryam
(Ethiopian girl who lives in Claire’s house) decided to pray the Rosary
as they did every day. They went to the place of the Soufanieh repro-
duction and the other pictures. When the oil came, at first they were
scared and thought it could be an illusion and that it was not oil; check-
ing it out, they were sure that it was oil.
They then called Maya Patsalides who in turn phoned Myrna, Rita,
Salwa. They all came and joined in prayer at the Claire home. While
praying the Rosary, Myrna asked for a calendar to see if it was a special
Church feast. Later she asked for the book of the Soufanieh messages.
While looking at the book, Myrna started crying and asked Maya to
read what happened on February 21, 1983, during the Virgin Mary’s
fourth apparition. With good reason Myrna wondered what Fr. Malouli
was trying to say as oil appeared to come from his photo as well. The
previous Holy Week, Myrna had seen Fr. Malouli in light while under-
going the sufferings of the passion of Jesus.
On February 21, 1983, 9:30 p.m., there had taken place the fourth
apparition in which the Virgin Mary said:
My children, let it be said between us, I have come back here. Do not
insult the haughty who are devoid of humility. The humble person craves other
people’s remarks to correct his shortcomings, while the corrupt and haughty
neglects, rebels, becomes hostile. Forgiveness is the best thing.
He who pretends to be pure and loving before people, is impure before
God. I would like to request something from you, a word that you will engrave
in your memory. that you shall always repeat:
God saves me, Jesus enlightens me, the Holy Spirit is my life, thus I fear
nothing.
Is it not so, my son Joseph?
Forbear and forgive. Forbear much less than the Father has forborne.
Back in February 1983, after the above message was first given, peo-
ple were wondering who is “Joseph.” Fr. Malaouli had remained quiet at
first. He had never told those who knew him so well in Damascus, that
his real proper name was “Joseph” although he did not go by that name.
Finally, Fr. Malouli took out an identification card from his pocket to
Chapter 3. Signs of the Fingers of God Here
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show that his formal, proper name was “Joseph.”
It was then Myrna remembered that the same reproduction of Our
Lady of Soufanieh had exuded oil on Saturday, November 26, 1989
(anniversary of Soufanieh).
Fr. Joseph Malouli had been a privileged witness from the first days
of the apparitions and the signs that were manifested at Soufanieh. It
was he who had faithfully transcribed the messages. He observed and
noted meticulously everything that was happening in the house of Sou-
fanieh. It seemed he practically never left that house. He ensured an
impartial analysis of the events. He once said: “I have let myself be
caught totally (body and soul) by the phenomenon of Soufanieh.”
When he desired to avoid mistakes, he had prayed and received from
the Holy Virgin Mary an answer to his prayer: “Holy Virgin, enlighten us,
so as to avoid making a mistake which could prejudice your program.
” The
answer then came a few minutes later during an apparition of the Virgin
Mary on February 21, 1983: “God saves me, Jesus enlightens me, the Holy
Spirit is my life, this is why I fear nothing, isn’t that so, my son Joseph?”
To return to the February 21-22, 2001, incidences: Claire prays
much every day. She averages praying the Rosary three times a day. She
does much work to help poor people and does many charitable works.
One example is helping Maryam, the Ethiopian girl, who stays at her
home and with whom she prays every day. Maryam had been begging
the Virgin Mary in prayer every day to permit her to see the oil.
The oil came down from the Icon of Our Lady of Soufanieh, main-
ly to three other photos, to Fr. Malouli, who was also Claire’s spiritual
guide, and to St. Don Bosco and Mother Teresa, both of whom had
worked with poor people. Claire worked with the associations of both of
them under the instruction of Fr. Malouli.
The oil was exuding out of the reproduction profusely. It was plen-
tiful. It came especially from the Virgin Mary’s eyes and mouth. The oil
went down onto the table and the other pictures there, especially that of
the late Fr. Malouli (who had been Myrna’s spiritual director), St. Don
Bosco and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. There were some drops of oil
appearing in the Fr. Malouli photos without showing any traces or lines,
as was the case with the other pictures, where one could see the line
drawn by the drops of oil coming down from the Soufanieh
reproduction to those photos.
It would not be for the author of this book to know all the reasons
why and when heaven gives signs. But I could not help but remember
that the dates above (February 21-22, 2001) coincide perfectly with a
cancellation in ecumenical talks between the Vatican and officials of the
Orthodox Church in Russia, which is the largest Orthodox body in the
world.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for
Promoting Christian Unity, was scheduled to travel to Moscow February
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21-22 for meetings with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II and other
top officials. A request was given Cardinal Kasper February 13 to cancel
his visit and the head of the Orthodox office for ecumenical relations said
that the request to cancel his visit was related directly to the Vatican’s
February 11 announcement that it was transforming into dioceses the
four Catholic apostolic administrations set up in the 1990s to minister to
Catholics in Russia. (See chapter 10 for further details.)
Oil is a sign of the Holy Spirit and a further invitation to pray, in
this case, especially for love and unity between families, between
Christians.
Often people ask how they may obtain the miraculous oil from
Soufanieh. There are thousands who would like some and it is a big
world. There is only so much, according to God’s will, although it has
flowed in thousands of cases in various parts of the world and has been
known to have curative results when it is God’s holy will.
People write me for Soufanieh miraculous oil. I do not have a supply
to send. I was instrumental in obtaining some for Mother Angelica of
EWTN directly from Nicolas and Myrna who sent it to me through a
woman traveling to the United States.
Obviously thousands of people write to Soufanieh for oil. They have
a sign posted to the side of the miraculous Icon, “NO DONATION
ACCEPTED.” Fr. Elias Zahlaoui frequently mentions that although
the Nazzours have opened their doors to the world and their home has
Chapter 3. Signs of the Fingers of God Here
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The foyer of the Virgin’s House of Soufanieh, with inscribed messages and
holy images on the walls.
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Fox. Light from the East—Miracles of Our Lady of Soufanieh
become known as “the Virgin’s House”—yet everything is done gratu-
itously. When people send money, it is returned. I respect Fr. Zahlaoui
for this and I too advise people whom I have ministered to with special
charisms, never to accept one penny from anyone relative to your super-
natural gifts. Otherwise it could be said it was all a sham for the sake of
money.
The story has circulated that the Nazzours are wealthy. That is an
exaggeration. They live simply and without luxuries. I saw their family
car at the time which was 38-years-old. Their home is not even their
own in a sense, it is the home of all Mary’s children. Legally the home
belongs to Nicolas and his brothers and sisters who have families of their
own.
C
The Nazzour family poses with the author before the miraculous Icon, behind John
Emmanuel’s head. Daughter Miriam is between Myrna and Nicolas.
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Myrna has gone to many parts of the world to evan-
gelize as Jesus and Mary desire. When people are rev-
erent and pray, often the oil comes.
Thousands often show up to hear Myrna as she travels to many countries.
73
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People are anxious to be anointed when the oil comes.
Fr. Boulos Fadel, Myrna’s spiritual director, is seen
beside her as people come forth.
74