Blessed Mother Marie Rose Durocher
The raging forest fire swept down the mountainside, headed straight for a cluster of farmhouses and a lakeside resort.
The owner of the resort, Frank Carr, tossed a picture of a 19th-century Catholic nun into the roaring flames -- and immediately the wind shifted, the fire turned around and, incredibly, burned itself out.
It was the latest and most spectacular of the miracles attributed to Mother Marie-Rose Durocher, a Canadian nun who has demonstrated on many occasions an amazing ability to turn back fires, according to believers. "I don't know why it happened or how it happened," Carr said.
"All I know is that it did happen. I have never seen anything like that. I mean, when I threw the picture of Mother Marie-Rose into the fire, the wind turned...like, right now!"
Mother Marie-Rose, who lived from 1811 to 1849, was the founder of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. She is now being considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church, and is credited with saving lives and property threatened by fire.
The latest incident occurred in July near Tonasket, Wash., at Carr's Spectacle Lake Resort. Carr said the fire was racing downhill toward an apple orchard owned by the Holy Name Sisters. Below the 200-acre orchard were 20 farmhouses and farm buildings, and Carr's resort all directly in the path of the fierce fire.
"The fire was coming fast and people were evacuating the area," Carr recalled. "I called the Holy Names Sisters' convent in Spokane and told them their orchard was going to burn."
A few minutes later, Carr's sister, who is a nun with the Holy Names order, called him back and asked him to throw a holy card she had given him, with Mother Marie-Rose's picture on it, into the fire.
"I got up as close to the fire as I could and I threw the picture into the flames," Carr said. "And just like that, the wind stopped and turned the other way. There's no question the fire would have taken the orchard, the farmhouses and the resort if it hadn't turned backward," he added.
Sister Edwardine Mary, an archivist at the convent in Spokane, said she was not at all surprised by the apparent miracle.
"Mother Marie-Rose has a special power with God where fire is concerned,' she said. For those who have faith in her, Mother Marie-Rose will intercede with God to turn back fires."
Records at the convent show that Mother Marie-Rose had been instrumental in halting several other potentially dangerous blazes. In 1973 a forest fire threatened Fort Wright College, which is staffed by the Holy Names Sisters. One of the nuns threw a medal with Mother Marie-Rose's likeness on it into the approaching flames. Instantly, the fire stopped advancing, records show. In March 1922, three nuns in Detroit saw a farmer's house burning, gave the farmer a medallion bearing Mother Marie-Rose's likeness, and urged him to hurl it into the blazing house. The farmer later said the fire was extinguished 'as if someone had smothered it with a blanket.
In December of the same year, a large fire threatened the Holy Names Sisters' convent in Astoria, Oregon. Nuns placed pictures of Mother Marie-Rose over the entrances and all around the grounds. Inexplicably, the flames veered away. By her intercession, Mother Marie-Rose will intercede with God to turn back fires.
Three years later, an Oregon family's home was destroyed by fire. Out of 700 books in the family's library, only one was spared by the blaze -- a book about the life of Mother Marie-Rose.
Divine Jesus, Who didst inspire Mother Marie Rose to establish an institute consecrated to the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, we beg of Thee to glorify the memory of Thy servant. By Thy grace may we imitate her in the meekness and humility of Thy Adorable Heart, thereby to obtain eternal life. Amen.
(Persons favored with special graces, which they attribute to the prayers of Mother Marie Rose, are requested to inform the Secretary General, Mother House, 1430 Mount Royal Boulevard, Outremont, Montreal, P. Q. Canada.)