Miracle of Hasselt 1317 – 2017

 

The history of the miracle of Viversel we can read in the booklet ‘Vier historiën van het H Sacrament van Mirakel’ (Four histories of the Sacrament of Miracle), written in 1620 by Rev Father Matthias Pauli, Augustinian in the cloister of Bruges. He wrote a book on the Eucharistic Miracles in Herkenrode, Gand, Bruxelles and Louvain. In that time there was also an Augustinian cloister in the centre of Hasselt.

Here the translation of the part on the Miracle of Viversel; the booklet is dedicated to Madam Anna Blockerije, abbess of the abbey of Herkenrode. The original manuscript can be consulted on the site of the Provincial Library Hasselt.

http://www.flandrica.be/items/show/578/

Translation of the text of 1620:

Beloved reader, […], with this writing I want to encourage you to assist frequently tot he Eucharist, and in that way expect the eternal life, and the everlasting good of heavens that is the result of the works of iustice. That reward, so learns us the Holy Church, is founded on the H Sacrament. That is why the Holy Father gives us this rule of life: If you gird your loins (Ps 33, Homily of St Augustinus 39 De Verbis Domini) and the light is lit, that is to say if you do no wrong and you do the good, than you may expect a quiet life and good days. Look for peace and follow it. And than you will be able to say the Lord with a joyfull face: I have done what you have ordered, give me what you promised.

So take this work in gratitude and pray for us.

 

The history of the H Sacrament of Miracle, preserved in the abbey of Herkenrode [now in the St Quentin Cathedral]:

1.       In the year 1317, on the 25th of July, a sick man in Viversel, a village in the land of Liège, aware that his life was coming to an end wanted to receive the H Sacrament, also known as the viaticum: that helps us to bring us from this world to the next and makes us escape the tricks of the devil, who makes a lot of efforts to seize us and to spoil our soul.

2.       When the chaplain got the message, he went to the sick man in a hurry, with the Holy Sacrament. And arriving at the house where the sick man was, put the ciborium aside with the Holy Host on a table, and went to the sick man to give him the blessing. He went to him to take his confession and to prepare him with spiritual advice, and to give him devoutly the H Sacrament.

3.       While the chaplain was hearing confession, some that were there in the house, saw that the ciborium was open on the table, and they touched the H Sacrament with their unsacred and unpurified hands, and looked at it, and put it back in the ciborium.

4.       After having heard the man’s confession, the priest went to the table with the ciborium and to adjudge the man, but in opening the ciborium, he saw that the Host was full of blood, and attached to the cloth that lay beneath the ciborium: and he was very amazed of this magnificent miracle and got nervous. He quickly closed the ciborium and kept the miracle to himself and told nobody there about it.

5.      And he went back to the sickbed and encouraged the man to hold on a bit and that he would return immediately, and that he should make his heart ready for his maker and Savior, so as to unite him with Christ in the communion.

6.       He brought the Holy Sacrament to church, and took another Host to return quickly to the sick man, who has received the Host devoutly and with honor.

7.       And then he went to the pastor of the village Viversel, who lived somewhere else, to ask what he should do with the Sacred Host, and the pastor advised him to go to the devout and wise priest Simon, who at that time was confessor in the illustrious abbey of Herkenrode.

8.       And so he started the journey, and took the miraculous Host with him, and all the animals that he encountered on his way, kneeled down as they saw him, and brought honor to the Holy Sacrament

9.       When he arrived at the cloister, the two bells of the church started to ring spontaneously.

10.   It was the feast day of St Peter ad Vincula [St Peter in Chains, 1th August]: and so the introitus of this mass just started ‘Nunc seio vere, etc’ – Now I genuinely know that God has sent his angel -. Those words meant a great source of joy and gladness to the heart of the priest, that had the Host with him: he experienced that God wanted the miraculous Host wanted to be in that cloister, be conserved, and venerated.

11.   When he arrived with the Holy Host at the choir, the priest that stood at the altar, turned around spontaneously (although he didn’t know anything of the miracle and the priest) and kneeled down for the priest with the veiled Host. That priests name is Adam Suytens.

12.   On the same moment one saw a young man in the Host, with around his head a beautiful and radiating crown.

13.   There was on that moment also a women that had been possessed for a long time with an evil spirit, and in the presence of this H Sacrament was immediately cured.

14.   By this and other miracles people started to visit this place, and so it is still daily visited by many pilgrims, who find a wonderful comfort for their problems and illnesses, after the devotion.

15.   One organises every year a solemn procession, on the octave of Corpus Christi, with an indescribable devotion by the people; and this Sacrament of Miracle is shown, and the most important people and nobility of the land, carry the canopy protecting the Sacrament of Miracle.

 

Some miracles:

16.   Of many illnesses and disabilities, such as scurvy, many people were cured after visiting the H Sacrament, and even today people are cured daily. (Annales Monasteri)

17.   Mss van Geet, who had a son who had been ill for a long time and who was not going well, saw that all the medications did not help the child and took refuge to God, and she promised a pilgrimage to Herkenrode and to visit there the H Sacrament: and the child cured, without an explanation of the doctors

18.   Such a grace was also obtained for a lame girl, who went there on crutches and came back without them after the solemn procession: She became healthy.

So also for the child of Geertruyt, a women from Hasselt, who visited the Holy Sacrament regularly for a ‘bad arm’, and no doctor could cure her. Also a religious sisters in the cloister was     cured, after she had a bad accident with a heavily loaded truck.

19.   In the year 1563 the church of Herkenrode was robbed during the night, and all silverware was stolen and beautiful jewels; but the beautiful ciborium, in which in that time the Sacrament of Miracle was conserved, was not stolen. Not because the thieves didn’t want to steal the ciborium, or because they has much reverence for the Holy Sacrament, but because a miracle prevented it. Some of the thieves were caught and brought before justice and confessed: they also wanted to steal the ciborium, but when they were a the highest step of the altar to break open the tabernacle and seize the ciborium, they were overwhelmed by terror and fear and it seemed to them that the church was full of armed men. And so they didn’t dare to touch the Holy Sacrament and fled for their live.

The same happened in the year 1586. When some geuzen [protestants] attacked the cloister and wanted to steal the Holy Sacrament. But they were precluded by the fall of a thick darkness: they couldn’t make any light. As soon as they tried to make light, it was miraculously blown out. And so God prevented that they could steal anything, because they were in the darkness of their incredulity, of their sins and the evil. And so they could not take away the sign of His miracles, or abuse It, of torture It.

In the same time there was a Henrik of Liège, who wanted to see the H Sacrament. So he came on a Thursday to Herkenrode, but when he saw the Blessed Sacrament, he saw an ox head with two great horns. He was startled and those around him saw it. And they asked him what happened and he confessed what he saw. And they encouraged him to go to confession and to the Eucharist, and then return. He did a good confession. All his bestial sins. And so refreshed he returned to the Holy Sacrament, an instead of an ox head, he saw a beautiful man.

20.   In the year 1595, when I was a novice, I lived in the cloister in Hasselt, and went with my prior Rev Father Nicolaus Roetkens, theologian, to the cloister in Herkenrode to visit the Sacrament of Miracle, and I could revere it after Mass, but I could not see anything else than Our Lady, with the Christ child on her knees, but the prior whom I told it afterwards had seen a little lamb. So at the same time that we revered the Host, we saw something totally different.

21.   And twenty years ago there was in that cloister a large fire, who was miraculously stopped after the blessing with the Holy Sacrament.

22.   On the 7th july 1616, Father Faustinus of Diest, vicar of the cloister of capuchins in Maastricht, went to Herkenrode. He was deaf for some time already. And he came to Herkenrode and revered the Sacrament of Miracle; and after his devotions he could hear again. And in gratitude of this favour, he has composed a hymn on the Holy Sacrament.

 

Preceding the history of the miracles of Herkenrode, Father Pauli also wrote some background and guidance:

Venerable Abbess, in his time the great prophet David saw the good and blessing that the Lord did to his people, and who were fervently in his mind and said: The merciful and graceful God has left us a memory of his wonder works: He has given nourishment to those who feared Him. By the incarnation of His Son, is birth, his circumcision, his death, his resurrection, etc these are all wonderful facts that showed His Infinite love, humility, mercifulness, and justice; but to make sure that we would remember those facts always, he has left us the H Sacrament of the Eucharist.

1.  The Eucharist is a sign of the incarnation: Because God has wanted to unite himself with humanity, and has wanted to be born in a virgin body. And so in communion man is united with God, and he does not shrink to rest in the body of a sinner (Joh 6), because He said: Who eat my flesh and drinks my blood stays in me and I in Him.

2. Sign of his birth: Because just as the Son of God, the almighty creator of Heaven and earth, who cannot be contained by the universe, was born in a little manger, so he becomes present in a little Host. Just as He was born then in Bethlehem, which means, House of Bread, and was won in swaddling clothes, and carried in the arms of his mother; so he stays in the presence of the breath, and is he carried in the hands of priests. So the Gospel was proclaimed that God because of humankind became man, and still the world did not recognize him and did not want to receive him. So also He wants through our salvation be nourishment for our soul, and still the unbelievers do not want to recognize Him or have the reward of the just.

3.      3. The Eucharist is also a sign of his circumcision. Because just as God the Son has suffered in his human nature, and not in his Godly, and has gotten the name of Saviour. Just so the Holy Sacrament is broken in pieces, but God present in it stays unaffected God and human; and in the eating of that nourishment lays our salvation.

4.       A sign also of the Kings: Because just as they adored Him in the stable, although they couldn’t see anything else than a crying baby, they still believed He was God. In the same way we adore Christ on the altar as truly God and human, where we do not see, smell, taste or feel anything else but bread.

5.       The Eucharist remembers us to the Presentation of our Lord in the temple. Just as he was presented there as an innocent lamb, an offer to the Father, so He is presented every day on the altar as a Holy offer, an unblemished sacrifice, in redemption of our sins.

6.       A representation of the Transfiguration. Just as He did not lose his earthly body in the transfiguration, when one spoke of His suffering (Luc 9). So also in the Holy Sacrament, the bread does not lose its figure through transubstantiation: it just looks as bread just as before, while the very essence of the bread has changed, and this Sacrament was given in remembrance of his suffering.

7.       The Eucharist is a representation of his wonders and miracles. As He once changed water into wine, made the blinds see, and the cripples walk again, etc … so he changes now also the wine in His blood, and by eating His holy body, he also cures the blind, the cripples, etc of the health of their soul and also frequently (as we will report) of their body.

8.       A representation of his suffering. As he has patiently carried his suffering and the blasphemy and in the end death, just so heretics and bad Catholics disgrace Him much in the Holy Sacrament, as we have seen in the past and also may appear from the examples (Heb 6. Ser 118 de tep). And so St Augustin accuses and he speaks to them who have received Communion irreverently: ‘Why did you burden me with the heavy cross of your sins?’ Heavier is the cross of your sins, that I have to carry against my will, than the cross that I have climbed, in compassion for you.’

9.       The Eucharist is the sign of His Resurrection. Because as he has risen from the grave and showed himself to his friends, and has given us the proof of his resurrection. So he also comes through the Holy Communion of the Father, whereto he has risen, as if he wanted to rise again for us, and so given the unspeakable joy to the hearts of the believers who receive him devotedly: and He promises through the power of His Holy Body to rise them on the last day.

10.   A mark of His ascendance into Heaven. Just as he ascended into heaven so as to be our advocate and counselor with the Father, so ascends daily the sweetness and the flavor of this Sacrament to God the Father, in re-compensation of our sins, and in determent of all our atrocities.

11.   A mark of the sending of the Holy Ghost over his apostles. As the apostles have received the abundant grace, so every human in blessed by this H Sacrament: He is fulfilled by love, powerful and prudently, patient against the evil that is done to him, hardworking, obedient, and humbly, prone to be grateful, gentle when he is reprimanded or punished for the evil, appropriate in the matters of the heart, peaceful with his fellow, wise in dubious affairs, full of grace and virtues, rich in merits, and strengthened and aided in problems, misfortune or temptations.

12.   A sign of all his powers and virtues. Of his wisdom, as he has proposed this aid to show the way to God in such a fine creature. Of his goodness, that he carries him so diligently. Of his love, through which he unites himself with his friends and does not refuse himself to his enemies. Of his charity, as he gives himself to those who are hungry, and as drink to those who are thirsty, a medicine to the sick, etc. Of his generosity, as he gives everything that he has. From his all-mightiness to do so much miracles through this Holy Sacrament. Of his patience, by bear so much insults from those who receive him irreverently. Of his obedience, that he submits himself in this Holy Sacrament to the action of the priest, as much sins that the priest has. Of whole his live, of which the remembrance is done in the Holy Eucharist, as I have already written in ‘de Boom des Levens’ the booklet that I wrote about the liturgy of the Mass.

 

And his charity is so big, that he not only wanted to give us a remembrance of the wonder works he has done for our salvation, but also from that what is truly present in the H Sacrament: Because it is truly good that the highest Truth [that his mercy in without end] on which our Catholic faith is founded and our hope: that who wants to be part of that, will not lose it, but will get to eternal salvation after a just and righteous life. It did not suffice to him to say to his bride the Holy Church with certainty that He is present in the H Sacrament with whole his Body, his flesh and blood, his bones and sweat and all his limbs as a complete human, and said (Matthew): Take this and eat, this is my Body. He also has wanted to confirm it all with wonderful signs, miracles so as some children of the Church, weak in their faith, who say as St Thomas (Joh 20): If a do not see, I will not believe. With those signs they will get more devotion and rest (although it is better not to see and still believe) to receive the Holy Body and so his grace, mercy, purity and power.

 

Of all these wonderful miracles in the low countries, there are some really important as the one in Zeeland, one in Flanders (Gand), in Brabant (Brussels) and a fourth one in the Land of Liège (Viversel-Herkenrode), in which the Good God has pleased it to be present in your famous abbey, and to leave his eternal remembrance there. And this great treasure has been there hidden for all others, and was only known in the land of Liège, because nobody had written it down as I do now. And where the beneficences of God stay unknown, also the love of God is forgotten, and the devotion of the Christians diminishes, and the gratitude and the zealousness vanishes, and the fountain of grace will stop. So I have wanted to do this, and felicitate your country and I wanted to do some good to your abbey that has the great gift to conserve this treasure of the Sacrament of miracle. And to emphasize this miracle even more, I have added the history of three other miracles. And I have added some explanations and examples, so as that the Catholics that may read it would be confirmed in their faith, and the heretics may be converted.

 

[…]

 

Your benevolent servant in Christ

 

Rev Father Matthias Pauli, Augustinian of Hasselt. 

 

 

 ©copywright Annemie America, Stad Hasselt / Parochie St Quintinus