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The Healing of a Woman Hopelessly Ill With Tuberculosis
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Kursk Root Icon RolloverThe Healing of a Woman Hopelessly ill With Tuberculosis

I ask forgiveness for being so late in informing you of the healing from a hopeless stage of tuberculosis of my fiancee, later my wife Maria, nee Smimova.

On Sunday, the 9th of September 1952, together with the now deceased Alexandra Feodorovna Luper, we went to visit the Russian girl Maria Smimova, who was a patient at the Nomerheide Sanitarium in Holland.

The journey was long and difficult. Along the way Alexandra Feodorovna told me the following about Maria. During the last war, in 1942, at the age of 15 she was forcibly deported to Germany to work. The overburdening work in unsanitary conditions, together with the poor food, ruined Maria's health.

With the approach of the American army, and fearing retaliation from the retreating German soldiers, in the spring of 1944 Maria fled with several Russian girls to southern Holland. Until the end of the war she lived there in hiding with a kind Dutch widow. In the spring of 1945, already after the end of the war, Maria began to cough up blood. She lay for some time at the home of the widow who had taken her in, and then she was able to enter a tuberculosis sanitarium. It was at this sanitarium that the late A.F. Luper introduced me to her. I liked Maria very much, from the first glance. Because of her open, kind, happy face, her optimism, and her desire for life, after three or four visits I fell in love with her.

Soon after my first visit, my emigration visa to the USA arrived with a term of one half year. Until meeting Maria I wanted to leave for North America. And now, at once, both love and the visa. Which was I to choose?

My financial situation was extremely unsatisfactory, I was not in a position to support Maria, and I decided with her approval, to go to prosperous America so as to support her from there and save money for the future. By that time I had already proposed to Maria, and we had become engaged. Departing I convinced Maria that upon my honor I would not forget her, and that we would see each other again.

Leaving the sanitarium, I met the senior nurse (a Catholic nun) named Archangela, who was in charge of the wing Maria was staying in. I told the nun that I was going to America, and that I wanted to know in what condition Maria's health was at the time. She replied that Maria was a hopeless case, and that there was not the slightest chance for her recovery. Both lungs had become infected, the right one especially. The stomach cavity was infected by TB and an operation was pointless. The doctors had ceased to prescribe medicines for the ill woman, except for pain killers, and her days were numbered.

This news, as it were, splashed me with cold water, but I thought, "Who can number days? Only God! We are all in the hands of the Lord God!" I heatedly replied to the nurse, "I believe that God exists and that she will recover."

In March I was already in San Francisco. I was taken in by the late Fr. John Kliarovich. Soon I found work and friends, but I did not forget that in a TB sanitarium in Holland lay my fiancee.

I wrote her letters every week and often sent her parcels and money. I do not remember exactly: it seems in the summer of 1953 Metropolitan Anastassy arrived in San Francisco with the Kursk wonder-working icon of the Mother of God. It was the all-night vigil. Vladyka Anastassy was serving with Vladyka Tikhon and a multitude of clergy. On the analogion in the middle of the church, all in the glow of many candles, lay the miracle-working image. I also put up a candle and for the first time in my life drew near and venerated this great and holy icon. I was caught up by an unusual feeling of joy and reverence. For the first time in several years I saw tears of compunction on many faces. The holy wonder-working icon lay some two or three paces from me! The unusual spiritual fervor engulfed me. Some kind of link of the present and past passed before me. I did not feel time I was outside of time. I relived my childhood and youth. Everything was here in this image, and somehow, involuntarily, a fervent mental prayer began to pour forth of its own accord. "Little Mother and Protectress, heal my ailing Maria, and unto the end of my days I will not eat meat on Wednesdays and Fridays!" (At that time I did not know that by church regulations, Orthodox Christians are not permitted to eat meat on Wednesdays and Fridays.)

With this thought I venerated the wonder-working image once more and went to Metropolitan Anastassy to be anointed and to receive a blessing.

Soon I found out that Maria's condition had become much better. And the doctor decided that she was able to withstand an operation. Having received news about this from Maria, I fervently prayed to the Heavenly Queen for a fortunate outcome of the operation. Sometime after the operation Maria was able to rise from her bed and take short walks. On the other hand, it was impossible to bring her to America. I then decided to return to Holland. On April 16, 1956, Maria left the sanitarium, and on April 25th of the same year I arrived in Rotterdam, where I was greeted at the dock by the onetime "hopelessly ill" Maria.

We were married long ago. Glory to God in the highest! Glory to the Most Holy Lady and Theotokos the Hodigitria of our Church Abroad the Kursk Root Mother of God.

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