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The Holy Miracle of Santarem

Some narrators say it happened in 1247, others that it took place in 1266.

At that time there lived in the village of Santarem (today a city of Portugal) a poor woman whose life was made miserable by her unfaithful husband. Weary of so much unhappiness, she decided to consult a Jewish sorceress for aid. The sorceress promised the woman that all her difficulties would disappear if she would bring her a Consecrated Host. After great hesitation, the poor woman decided to commit the sacrilege. After being heard in confession at the church of St. Stephen she proceeded to the altar and upon receiving the Blessed Sacrament removed It from her mouth and carefully wrapped It up in her veil. She then proceeded to leave the church and hurry to the sorceress's cave not noticing the great drops of blood that fell from her veil. Others who saw the blood inquired why she was bleeding so profusely. Confused and perplexed, she ran home and hid the Holy Sacrament in one of her wooden chests.

Late that day her husband returned. In the middle of the night they awoke and saw that the house was lit up by mysterious rays of light which penetrated through the chest. The woman confessed her sin to her husband and both of them spent the rest of the night upon their knees in adoration. At daybreak the parish priest was informed and people from afar and near rushed to the woman's house to contemplate the holy miracle. The Blessed Sacrament was then taken in procession to the church of St. Stephen, where it was placed in a small case of wax.

Some time later, when the tabernacle was opened for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, another miracle had taken place. The wax case was found broken in pieces and the Holy Sacrament encased in a beautiful crystal pyx, which was later placed in a gold-plated silver monstrance and can be seen to this day. The church of St. Stephen is now named the church of the Holy Miracle.