08/25/2016, 14.54
ITALY – MYANMAR
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Graces and "miracles" by the intercession of Brother Felice, "God's blacksmith"

by Piero Gheddo

In Myanmar, with his faith and strength, he built hospitals, churches, bridges, convents and orphanages. Since his death as miracles occur, evidence is being collected for the cause of his beatification.

Milan (AsiaNews) – The exhibit ‘Felice di nome e di fatto’ (Happy* in name and in fact) was held in Introbio, Valsassina (8-15 August), dedicated to the Servant of God Br Felice Tantardini, a PIME lay missionary in Myanmar, who died in 1991 at the age of 93. The venue presented in an effective way the human and spiritual story of a minor yet great missionary, a figure who is still important today with clearly demarcated traits of holiness, so much so that the process for his beatification is underway.

Brother Felice went everywhere he was called, not only to teach catechism, but also to build churches, schools, parish houses, hospitals, seminaries, orphanages, convents, bridges. Above all, he never left his hammer and anvil. For this reason, he was nicknamed "God’s blacksmith."

I have kept several graces and even Felice’s miracles as reported by Father Angelo Tin, who was the postulator of his cause of beatification in Burma, while I was the postulator in Rome. I wrote to him often and helped him financially. Starting in 1993, when he began to prepare the material for the cause of Clemente Vismara, I sent a letter to all the confreres still present in the archdiocese of Taunggyi (Mgr Gobbato, Noè, Clarini, Mattarucco, Galbusera, Fasoli, Meo. I do not remember if there were others), some of whom told me that we had to promote Felice’s cause, "holier than Clemente" (who was beatified in 2011).

It was time to start Felice’s cause, which everyone wanted, especially the archbishop of Taunggyi, Mgr Matthias U Shwe, and our confreres at PIME, etc. There was a desire, a willingness to start, but no precise decision to take the first steps and set the process in motion. In 1995, Father Angelo Tin sent me a booklet, with a preface by Mgr Matthias U Shwe, at the end of which there were many graces and alleged miracles attributed to the intercession of Brother Felice, all undated, but a few years after his death. I chosen and translated some of them.

The cause of beatification of Brother Felice began when the archbishop of Taunggyi, the superior general of PIME Father Franco Cagnasso, and Introbio pastor, Don Cesare Luraghi, agreed to it. The Archdiocese of Taunggyi owns and promotes the cause, PIME acts in the same case (bearing the cost), Introbio - his birthplace - provides prayers and spreads the devotion to God's blacksmith. On 22 May 2000 the Congregation of saints gave a favourable opinion at the beginning of the diocesan process. The ball was rolling. I was postulator until 2009, when I turned 80 and had to resign from the post. Dr Francesca Consolini took my place. We must pray a lot and ask for graces through the intercession of God’s unforgettable blacksmith. Here are a few cases of graces and supposed miracles:

Maumg Aung Sein is my nephew and is studying at the catechistate in Pekhong. In 1992 he became seriously ill and was taken to a hospital in Loikaw. The doctor and nurses did their best to heal him, but after a month he got worse. The doctor told me clearly that there was no hope. I brought him a piece of Brother Felice’s robe, begging him to pray for healing. Without any hope from the doctor, I went back to Pekhong waiting for news from the hospital. Since I was not getting any, I returned to the hospital in Loikaw to see him, but he was no longer there. After a week I went to his village, Hwason Kuntha, to see what had happened to him. To my surprise, I met him coming out of the bathroom. "I feel better, Father." And from that day he has felt good. I am certain that Brother Felice healed him. He continued his studies and is now a catechist. Father Angelo Tin

In the village of Yanson, near Pekhong. A young man who worked as a porter came home seriously ill. The villagers came to me that I might see him. He was lying in the bed, unable to say a word. I thought nothing could be done and I gave him the oil of the sick and recommended him to Brother Felice, putting a piece of Felice’s robe on the patient's head. I returned home and waited for news. One day went by, then two, and still no news. I ask his people and I was told that he had healed and was back working in the mountains. This too, I believe, is a grace through Felice’s intercession. Father Angelo Tin

After I arrived in Mong Ping, I could not sleep for several nights. I was afraid I was going out of my mind. I asked Father Angelo Tin for a relic of Brother Felice, I put it under my pillow, and I begged him to intercede for me. After that I sleep normally and very well, without fear. Certainly, Brother Felice’ help did it. A nun in Mong Ping, diocese of Kengtung

In our orphanage in Mong Nai there was a little girl of two months. She was suffering from asthma and heart problems. We took her to the hospital, but the doctor told us that the baby was too small to be able to treat with injections, the only remedy. "There is nothing we can do," the nurse said. I went looking for a medal to put around her neck, but I did not find any. I found a piece of cloth from Felice’s garments. I cut it and put it on the child’s neck and the next day she was better and after a few days she was completely healed. I think she was healed through the intercession of Brother Felice. A nun from Mong Nai mission

Francis was one-year-old when he was struck by a severe form of diarrhea. We filled him with medicines but without effect and the child’s conditions got worse. One night it was so bad that we thought that it was the end. We called the priest to bless him, because we could not do anything. Suddenly, I remembered the relic of Brother Felice and put the piece of cloth on the baby's neck. After an hour, the child opened his eyes and looked around. He was very sweaty but smiling. From that moment he was healed. A nun at the Mong Nai mission

A resident in U Kunthà had been sick for a while, unable to get out of bed. In 1993, at Our Lady of Geroblao in Pekhong, his wife came to Father Tim and asked for a relic of Brother Felice. The father told the woman to ensure that her husband took the relic with faith, praying to Felice to intercede for him. After a bit of time, the woman came back to the priest and told him that her husband was perfectly healed. Father Angelo Tin

* In Italian, Felice is a man’s name. The English equivalent would be Felix. But it also means happy.

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