Every so often, God sends to the world that special soul that demonstrates more clearly His infinite love and mercy for mankind. Audrey Marie Santo was one of these special little souls.

"Little Audrey" was born in the city of Worcester, Massachusetts on December 19, 1983. On August 9, 1987, when she was only three years old, she fell into the family swimming pool and nearly drowned. She was rushed to a nearby hospital where she was stabilized and then taken to U-Mass Medical Center where she was accidentally overmedicated with 750 mg. of the drug Phenobarbital. The overdose caused her to lapse into a coma-like state called Akinetic Mutism, which meant that she had very limited body movement. Medical professionals told the family that they needed to place her in an institution where she could live out the remaining days of her life. Her mother’s faith-filled response to them was simply: "I shall place her in my arms." They predicted that "she would not live more than two weeks". Thus began a labor of love which lasted for twenty years.

Audrey came home from the hospital in November 1987, four months after her accident. Her family immediately set about working around the clock with relatives and medical staff keeping close watch that all of Audrey’s needs were met and that she receive only the very best of care. There was such a tremendous outpouring of love from all those around Little Audrey that it was no wonder that God chose to dispense His special blessings upon her family and anyone else who came in contact with her. What merely began as a labor of love for a helpless little girl had now grown into an apostolate that would spread throughout the whole world.

Miracles began to happen; statues of the Virgin Mary began to weep tears of blood, oil began to exude from statues and holy images and many people were even healed of their illnesses. On five different occasions, while the Holy Mass was being celebrated in Audrey’s home, many people witnessed the Host in the celebrant’s hands beginning to bleed. (An interesting side-note is that Audrey received her First Holy Communion from the hands of Most Rev. Bernard Joseph Flanagan, bishop emeritus of the diocese of Worcester, MA (1959-1983). When we recall that Audrey was unable to swallow because of her condition and was being fed via feeding tubes, it is remarkable that on the day of her First Holy Communion and every day after that, she was able to receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist without any difficulty. It was also during Bishop Flanagan’s Mass in Audrey’s home that the first Eucharistic Miracle of the bleeding Host took place. Audrey’s family had been given permission to have the Blessed Sacrament in a Tabernacle in her room, thus she was in the continuous presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. But, of all these phenomena, by far the most wonderful of all was that hearts were changed and conversions began taking place. Little Audrey had clearly become one of God’s special instruments and her mission seemed to be two-fold: to bring souls to Jesus and to be a statement of life in a culture of death.

Pope Benedict XVI, in the introduction to his encyclical, Charity in Truth, states that: "Charity is love received and given." It is "grace" (cháris). It’s source is the wellspring of the Father’s love for the Son, in the Holy Spirit. Love comes down to us from the Son. It is creative love, through which we have our being; it is redemptive love, through which we are re-created. Love is revealed and made present by Christ (cf. Jn 13:1) and "poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Rom 5:5).

As the objects of God’s love, men and women become subjects of charity. They are called to make themselves instruments of grace, so as to pour forth God’s charity and to weave networks of charity. And further on, in chapter one, we read: "Only through an encounter with God are we able to see in the other something more than just another creature [17], to recognize the divine image in the other, thus truly coming to discover him or her and to mature in a love that "becomes concern and care for the other." [18]

In the life of Little Audrey, we have the perfect ng together, recognizing the "jewel" that they have in this little person and treating her with the dignity that she deserves as a child of God, thus enabling her to develop to her full potential in the family of God despite all her handicaps. At the same time, we see Little Audrey, in an extraordinary way through a very special grace from God, reciprocating all this love by giving it back to all those around her according to each person’s individual needs. Letters came from all over the world asking Little Audrey for her prayers. These letters were individually read to her by her mother, a family member, or one of her nurses. Audrey would listen attentively to each letter as it was read, and many claim that they were healed either physically or spiritually because of her prayers.

Audrey's bedroom after her death 

According to the world’s standards, Audrey’s life was of very little worth or even of no value at all. She could not work, she could not speak and she could not even eat without the aid of feeding tubes. She needed constant care and could even be considered a "burden" to her family and to society. But God has made use of "the weak to confound the strong" (Cor.1:28), and "He has exalted the lowly."(Luke 1: ) Pope Paul VI in his encyclical letter, Populorum Progressio, reminds us that: "…in the design of God, every man is called upon to develop and fulfill himself, for every life is a vocation." Little Audrey’s vocation was truly that of a witness in this life, that we are all precious in God’s eyes, and that every human being has a particular place and purpose in society. What she was unable to provide physically to society, God made up for in a most extraordinary way, manifesting how great His love is for all of mankind.

Audrey's gravesite in Worcester, Massachusetts

Little Audrey died on April 14, 2007. On September 11, 2008, Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Bishop of the Diocese of Worcester, MA, recognized the Foundation for the Promotion of the cause of the beatification and canonization of Audrey Marie Santo. We can now plead to her to intercede for us in Heaven before the throne of God, that He deliver our beautiful country of America from the "culture of death", and that all may live their lives with the dignity that they deserve as children of God, having been created in His image and likeness. Little Audrey Santo, pray for us!

Yves & Annie Jacques

Prayer for the Beatification of Audrey

Eternal Father, we thank you for the gift of Audrey Santo and for her extraordinary witness to the world that all life, no matter how small, broken, or wounded, remains precious in Your eyes. Grant that she may be venerated as a saint for the glory of God. Hear the requests of all those who seek her intercession, especially the grace for which we now ask… We ask this through Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Prayer taken from Little Audrey’s website, www.littleaudreysanto.org)

 

 

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