Cured of multiple sclerosis

I worked in the world of appearances and hypocrisy, in the world of advertising. I was a fighter. I was successful, except in my marriage. When I was 25, I got divorced after seven months of marriage. Then I met another man with whom I had my first child, a "pill baby" as they say. My partner did not accept this: he left me.

Six months after the birth, my illness began: I lost the sight in one eye, got numbness and problems walking. I had myself examined. At the end of an MRI scan, the doctor said to me, "You must be brave....." I later announced the diagnosis to my parents without really understanding it myself: "I have multiple sclerosis". My parents were devastated. They knew that no one has ever been cured of multiple sclerosis and that in the long run these people will be totally disabled by this disease.

I lost my job soon after. I was extremely athletic until then, but I quickly became a burden to my boyfriend, who eventually kicked me out. I then found myself on the street with a 2-year-old toddler....... and the disease. I found refuge with my grandmother in Beauvais. There I met again a man who had never stopped loving me and who had faithfully waited for me. That is true love. He became the man of my life. We got married and had a little girl who brightened our home. I was finally happy, despite thirteen bouts of inflammation, my field of vision reduced to 5% and the loss of the use of my legs.

One night I woke my husband with a cry: "I want to go to Lourdes! " In the morning he talked to me about this and asked me what I meant by my shout. But I could not remember anything. When he told me what I had shouted, I told him: "You are joking! Lourdes is simply a Mecca of Catholic folklore".

Another night, however, the same thing happened again. I then told this incident to some nuns who are friends of my parents. One of them asked me: "When did this happen? " I calculated and replied, "The first time on 11 February." Her face lit up, "That's the anniversary of when Mary appeared to Bernadette in Lourdes!"  For them it was certain that this was a call from heaven, they said I absolutely had to go to Lourdes.

Soon after, someone from my diocese came to the house to bring me information about such a pilgrimage. I didn't feel like going, but the people around me persuaded me to go. To do them a favour, I decided to sacrifice five days of my life and leave it at that.

I felt very uncomfortable in Lourdes, I was very annoyed to see what a spectacle was being made there for the people on such a huge stage. As for the hospital staff, I felt they were all hypocrites. Their smiles seemed to me to be nothing but a mask. This pilgrimage was obviously just a way to earn a place in paradise. I wept inwardly with rage until the third day. At the end of the mass in the grotto, I turned to the statue of Mary for the first time. And suddenly the one called Mary came to take me in her arms and wrap me in her motherly tenderness. I suddenly realised that I was the hypocrite, the actress, the one wearing a mask! I was not a good person. Then I cried like a child saying to its mother, "I am sick, comfort me". Suddenly I felt deeply loved. I now realised the truth. I experienced the greatest healing: that of a liberated and peaceful heart.

Back home, my husband was surprised to see that I was completely transformed and changed. How right he was! Now I notice and listen to people.

The following year, 2004, the illness worsened and I went to Lourdes once again. On Ascension Day, I expressed my wish to be bathed in the pools. The pilgrim doctor forbade me, but gave the green light at the insistence of a hospital staff member: "It's very important for her, let her do it!" I then entered the water basin with only one request: that my multiple sclerosis condition would not deteriorate as rapidly as it had. If only I could retain the use of my hands for a few more weeks, a few more months......

I dived into the water. Suddenly there was a radiant brightness around me. I felt a loving presence. All I could think was: "It's unbelievable, I'm going to die because my heart is too small to receive such a great love, it's Jesus!!!"

I got out of the bath. I was blissful. While I was getting dressed again, my legs and eyes were burning. Later I was able to sit up and stand upright. That night, at the Notre Dame shelter where I stayed, I got up to practise walking again. During the International Mass the next day, I realised that I had regained 100% of my sight! But I had not yet realised that I was completely cured, moreover, I could not believe it: I thought it was the prayers of the people, the atmosphere and my encounters in the pool that had inspired me. That's the "Lourdes effect" I thought to myself, that's all. The miraculous healings are a commercial to attract the masses.

My husband and I learned to live again. My mother was convinced I was cured, but I still couldn't believe it. I went for an MRI, which was scheduled for 19 June 2004. "By the way, what did you come for?" the doctor wondered when he looked through the results. "There's nothing to see. There is no multiple sclerosis!"

I will never forget that extraordinary moment. My husband and I then went to a restaurant to celebrate. Later, my first marriage was declared invalid. A priest advised me to testify at the medical examination centre in Lourdes, which I did. In 2008, the International Medical Committee of Lourdes recognised my recovery as remarkable. My neurologist never saw me again.

I decided to integrate the gift of my healing into my life by now serving others. I became a hospitaller at Lourdes and am now involved with Catholic Relief Services and the Fraternity of Saint Martin. I also accompany people with multiple sclerosis.

I also had another little girl. We named her Marie-Lou - for Marie-Louange / Mary Praise . She is the child of thanksgiving.