The doctor who only sees people when they’re cured

Dr Alessandro de Franciscis (Supplied)

Since the 1858 apparitions of Our Lady to Bernadette Soubirous, the French town of Lourdes has dealt with thousands of unexplained cures. Every case is closely investigated to determine if a miracle has occurred. Source: The eRecord.

By Joshua Low, The eRecord

Alessandro de Franciscis is president of both the Bureau of Medical Observations and International Lourdes Medical Association. He told the eRecord about the work that goes on behind the scenes for the investigation of miracles at the sanctuary.

“I like to say I’m the only doctor that people don’t actually need, because they only come to me when they’re cured,” Dr de Franciscis said.

“But I’ve been very privileged and the most interesting and emotionally impacting part of my work is listening to very intimate and personal accounts of lives and stories that have changed completely because of Lourdes.”

Dr de Franciscis said the bureau was founded to ask physicians for their medical evaluation before starting religious or canonicial evaluation of a miracle.

“In 2019, we received more than 4000 medical professionals who spent some time in Lourdes and informed us that they were willing to collaborate in the study, discussions and amendments of files of alleged cures," he said.

“With this method of collegial study, we have studied around 7500 cases from the foundation of the bureau, using, from the year 1905, the same method as the Roman Congregation of the Causes of the Saints.”

Dr de Franciscis explained the seven criteria used to assess cases and how strict the investigation process is.

“The first two criteria relate to the disease. For us it is absolutely mandatory that we are in front of a disease that we have described; that we have a sure diagnosis, and secondly a severe prognosis.

“Four criteria are related to the cure. The cure must have happened in an unexpected way with no premonitory signs, in an instantaneous way, in a complete way and in a lasting way,” he said.

“Finally we have a seventh and last criterion. If we have all of the above – is there any possible medical explanation for the cure?

Dr de Franciscis said that thousands of cases had been studied using this method. Of these, only 70 cases, including the first seven recognised by the bishop at the time of the apparitions, have been officially declared as miraculous.


Mixing faith and science: Behind the miracles at Lourdes (The eRecord)

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