The family of a young Irish boy cured of terminal cancer is speaking out about the miracle they believe occurred during a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, the famous pilgrimage site in Herzegovina.
Just over two years ago, doctors said that there was nothing they could do for Stephen Reilly of Eyrecourt, Co. Galway, then just nine years old.
He had been diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of six, losing a leg in the fight for his life. Then, on New Years Eve 2012, his family made an emergency trip to the hospital to discover that the cancer had returned.
“After two days of tests the doctors told us that the cancer had spread to his lungs and lymph nodes and that there was no more that they could do,” Stephen’s father, Michael, told Dave O’Connell of The Connacht Tribune in a recent interview.
Devastated, the Reillys went ahead with a planned trip to Medjugorje. The site became famous in 1981, when six local children saw apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since then, it has grown into one of the most popular Catholic pilgrimage sites in Europe, with more than 1 million people visiting each year. Others include the Camino de Santiago in Spain, Lourdes in France, and the Marian Shrine at Knock, Co Mayo.
At Medjugorje, the Reillys told the Connacht Tribune, Stephen saw a statue of the Virgin Mary move, and Michael saw what looked like a giant hand resting over his son’s head.
Shortly after the family returned to Ireland, Stephen appeared to be in better form. He continued to make a miraculous recovery, and just a few months later, in July 2012, he was no longer in the care of Galway Hospice.
In April, Stephen and Michael made a return visit to Medjugorje.
On the way up the mountain, Stephen climbed most of the way himself.
*Originally published in 2014.