Report From Our Fatima Pilgrimage:
St. Lucy Cures Pilgrim's Eyes
In October of 2002, Dr. Steven Crafton and his wife Christina attended our pilgrimage to Fatima. For about a year and a half prior to the pilgrimage, since the Spring of 2001, Dr. Crafton had been afflicted with a severe condition in his eyes. Since 1987 his health had been steadily declining due to Lyme disease. This painful disease, which had progressed too far to be reversed, forced him in 1994 to retire from his position as Associate Dean and Professor of Law at George Mason School of Law in Arlington, Virginia, and has left him primarily confined to a wheelchair. Then, in the Spring of 2001, the problems with his eyes began. His symptoms included the inability to focus, severe spasms of the muscles around his eyes, extreme pain, an intense sensitivity to light, migraine headaches and the loss of his peripheral vision. His ophthalmologist attributed the problem to his Lyme disease and could offer no remedy.
Soon Dr. Crafton was unable to focus his eyesight to read. His extreme sensitivity led to the removal of light bulbs in his home, and he was forced to live in the dark. He had to wear his regular glasses, the darkest wraparound sunglasses he could find, as well as an eye patch on his right eye since the muscle spasms wouldnt allow it to close. Even these measures did not prevent light from causing him pain.
Nevertheless, even while wearing his glasses, sunglasses and eye patch, the light still bothered Dr. Crafton. Even the light from the candles used during the nightly vigils gave him pain. On October 16, 2002, the pilgrimage group drove to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the town of Santa Luzia (Saint Lucy) near the city of Viana do Castelo, Portugal. Here in this church is a special altar dedicated to Saint Lucy, who is the Patron Saint of Eyes. Dr. Crafton was assisted up the steps and into the sanctuary, where the group was led in a decade of the Rosary dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Afterwards, Christina Crafton assisted her husband to the altar of St. Lucy, where he began to pray. He asked that, if it was the will of Our Lord, could his eyesight be restored or the symptoms be alleviated? As he was praying he felt a searing pain in his eyes, greater than any he had experienced there before. Taken aback, Dr. Crafton mentioned the pain to his wife, who helped him over to the Holy Water font. There, he put Holy Water on his eyes and Sister Frances touched two petals from the altar of St. Lucy to them. She also gave him a relic of St. Catherine Laboure to venerate.
Within minutes the pain in Dr. Crafton's eyes went away. Once outside he was able to wear only his regular glasses and he noticed that he no longer had any pain. Amazingly, he could focus his eyes, the muscle spasms were gone and he could read again. However, he waited to say anything to anyone.
The group re-entered the church to receive a blessing from the local priest, and when they came back out the sun was shining brightly. Amazingly, the bright light did not bother Dr. Crafton at all. He and Christina then informed the pilgrimage group of this special grace. Dr. Crafton has had no recurrence of his former symptoms since his cure last October. He still wears the same prescription eyeglasses that he wore before the onset of the condition in his eyes, but he no longer experiences the list of symptoms that characterized his malady. Dr. Crafton does not wish to claim that he experienced a miracle, but is content to give the facts and let the individual draw his own conclusion in the matter. However, no matter what we call this cure of Dr. Crafton' s eyesight, it nevertheless remains a signal grace conferred upon him while making a pilgrimage of faith to Fatima and beyond.