III. Diseases and Miraculous Help15

1. Before the Stigmatisation

Already before the public heard about the "miracle" of stigmatisation, already several other "miracles" had occurred in Konnersreuth. Detailed specification became only available later which we primarily owe to Dr. Fritz Gerlich. We are talking here about "grave diseases and sufferings, which harassed Therese Neumann throughout years and of which she was then suddenly freed." Essentially these are the following physical defects: wrenched vertebra, bedsore, gangrene blindness and paralysis.

For the descriptions of the diseases and miraculous healings Dr. Gerlich relies primarily on what Therese Neumann told him. He confesses: "In Konnersreuth one receives various information from Therese Neumann, if she is in the normal consciousness status. In addition, one receives some explanation, if she speaks in the state of elevated peace - normally called ecstasy. I myself was witness to this. Also I have learned something about the fates of Therese Neumann through her while she was in the state of elevated peace." Gerlich also confesses, that "before that I never dealt with the diseases in question".

a) Blindness

The first, "miracle" occurred on 23 April 1923; Therese Neumann was able to see again after a blindness which was persisting for many years. What is the medical judgement about the alleged blindness? The physician treating her, medical adviser Dr. Seidl, strove repeatedly to examine her eyes, but he never succeeded to do so. "Using an ophthalmoscope was impossible because every attempt to do so immediately resulted in violent twitching of the whole body and disturbances of consciousness." All attempts failed; every time a light beam penetrated into a "blind" eye, "epileptic cramping" started. The medical opinion of the physicians treating her stated that at that time the eyes of the female patient answered "each incident of light with a narrowing of the pupil the way each healthy eye does". Therefore one can conclude that here one has a psychologically, rather than an organically caused blindness. Dr. Seidl repeatedly stated that he thought from the beginning that the blindness was of hysterical origin. Nevertheless Therese Neumann claimed on March 27 1923 in a letter to a former teacher, that Dr. Seidl had said: "All hope concerning the eyes is gone. The sinews are dead; a miracle would have to occur, for her to become healthy again." Naturally the physician Dr. Seidl never used such words; in no case he would have uttered the more than unprofessional word "sinews".

b) Bedsore and Gangrene

On May 3 and 17 1925 Therese Neumann experienced a further miracle when bedsore and gangrene disappeared suddenly. She described to the archbishop Teodorowicz how deep the wounds were: "The left foot had no more skin on it from the ankle to the bottom, the ankle lay bare. On my back I had six to eight marks, about as large as a reichsmark coin or sometimes as wide as a hand. From all wounds seeped water, blood and pus." In this case the "Konnersreuthians" also point to the physician Dr. Seid for a witness, he is said to even have expressed the fear that the foot must be amputated. Dr. Seidl never did say such a thing; to the contrary he assured us that he "did not see the decubital ulcers, before the healing". Nobody told him after its first attendance after the alleged miracle that decubital ulcers suddenly disappeared; therefore he did no examination. But what does Therese Neumann say? In a letter from June 16 1925 she specifies her "miraculous healings". In the letter nothing at all about a gangrene and a sudden disappearance of the same is mentioned, but only a suffering from neck- and, spinal chord problems. She continues: "After some days Dr. Seidl came and was extremely astonished. He examined me thoroughly and found that my spinal chord had healed completely." However the physician spoke after his attendance i.e. after the "miracle" that, neither of a spinal chord problem, nor did he examine Therese at all; he had no reason to examine at all. In no letter written by Therese before the alleged miracle, a note about decubital ulcers can be found. One only encounters once a suggestion of consequences of long lasting confinement to the sick-bed. On January 14 1925 Therese writes among other things: "If my loved ones make the bed they have to put me in a different position each time. I cannot sit at all, only lie on the back which isn't quite comfortable to it. But it can't help it. It can be proud after all, getting a new skin again and again so it is young again and again16." From this remark it can only be inferred that due to long confinement to the bed the skin at the back peeled itself of repeatedly, which is natural process. Also, if the skin, became "young again and again", how does the gossip of a miraculous healing fit in here?

c) Vertebral Contortions

It is claimed that the alleged bedsore at the back of Therese Neumann was a consequence of "contorted backbone " from which she suffered since 1918. On May 17 1925 this one, which was also called "dislocated lumbar vertebras" and "luxation of the spinal column", disappeared. None of the physicians treating her ever discovered a suffering form such a pathology. Dr. Seidl positively assured that it was in fact only a pulled muscle. The dislocation of the lumbar vertebras should have already occurred on March 10 1918. The treating physician Dr. Seidl however heard of it for the first time after April 29 1923. Although he warned minister Naber not to make false statements "because a luxation never existed", the minister stated in the year 1926 in an article in the newspaper "Grenz-Zeitung" that there has been a contortion of the spinal column and an injury of the backbone. Naber claimed that starting with May 17 1925 "the two vertebras of the backbone, which were heretofore something imprinted and laterally shifted, are now in their natural position". An remark by bishop Waltz shows how easily "mystics " can get around criticism, if they want to call something a miracle: He attacks the statement that no physician ever diagnosed an injury of the spinal column by saying: "If one would apply such measures one finally will be able to say: Christ's death on the cross also was not medically proven. Therefore one does not have an obligation to believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead. It is nonsense to let oneself get troubled with such things." - One wonders who is telling nonsense here.

2. After the Stigmatisation

Boniface writes in the year 1958, that Therese Neumann from November 13. 1925 on, apart from a double-sided pneumonia, was "illness-free" Starting with the end of the year 1926 "except for some colds and flu" she didn't have the "slightest illness". Boniface acquired this knowledge in Konnersreuth. Other authors report of an enormous amount of suffering, which Therese Neumann had to go through; they also were informed in Konnersreuth.

Out of the abundance of the diseases, which the stigmatised of Konnersreuth allegedly had to go through, I will only mentioned a few; for none of them is there a medical certificate; the diagnosing is all done by the patient - on 26 July 1930, a heavy "lung suffering, which led to repeated lung bleedings" started - in the year 1938 she had to tolerate, for a priest, who suffered from drunkenness craze, a blood poisoning caused by an insect bite; the poison first wandered throughout the body and then settled itself in two ulcers "one in the bowls, the other one on the left side". From the one "a litre of evil-smelling pus poured "; from the other one "an unbelievable quantity of pus flowed". - in March 1931 Therese showed the "symptoms of a head flu" with very heavy crisis which "repeated themselves up to seven times a day" - Then she got paralysed on the right half of her body, deaf on the right ear and was hardly able to move the tongue, so that the she could only speak with great difficulty. - In the year 1930 she had according to minister Naber even "an ulcer on the area over the heart"; the ulcer did break open at night up and, the "pus flowed into the heart area". - During the advent season of the year 1931 Therese fell backwards; the result being "lung bleedings". - In regular intervals nerve and kidney pain set in - on March 13 1944 she reported to the bishop of Regensburg of a festering kidney inflammation.

The same, which we have found to be true concerning the sufferings before the stigmatisation also applies to all suffering in later times. Despite the large number and the critical nature of the diseases no physician was consulted. This however applies only to the various fantasy diseases. If she actually got sick then a physician was called, her "private physician" Dr. Mittendorfer. He had stepped in to take the place of the medical adviser Dr. Seidl, who had fallen out of the Neumann family's favour. Naturally there is only silence about when and how often Mittendorfer became active. Except for him no physician was permitted to do even the most simple examination, not even at the time when professor Martini stayed in Konnersreuth on behalf of the bishop of Regensburg. When Therese once got one of her frequently occurring "asphyxiation crisis", Martini asked her father whether he would allowed him to ausculate. The father rejected the proposal harshly, by noticing, that this would be much too dangerous, during a former auscultation his daughter almost suffocated. It came to an excited discussion, in which beside the parents of the Therese also minister Naber took part. The father explained that only the saviour would be able to help. And - lo and behold, immediately the saviour helped; the excited discussion was ended, when suddenly the patient was all right again; the father triumphantly remarked: "The saviour has helped!" In reality however Therese had no asphyxiation crisis at all, as Professor Martini could easily determine. During the "asphyxiation crisis", which occurred without any forerunner symptom he could neither observe any rattling sound from the trachea nor cyanosis or any other objective symptom of a breathing handicap, the whole thing rather gave the impression of a " spectacle, wilfully staged but with insufficient knowledge of the asphyxiation process17".

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Last update 28.8.2003