Amsterdam, Holland, 1345
By Fr. Rafael Alonso Reymundo
A Lay Member of the Home in Holland wrote us, saying,“This evening we had a silent procession. First, we had Mass with Cardinal Eijk and all the bishops. This procession takes on special significance in Amsterdam, as it is a city of so many sins. And yet, the Lord shows us His great Love in the Eucharist.
In the darkness of the night, these pilgrims feel united to Christ, who gives Himself so as to accompany all men of good will on the path of their life. Mass is celebrated in one of the churches in Amsterdam, in thanksgiving to God.
Every March, thousands of Christians participate in this silent pilgrimage through downtown Amsterdam. It is the same route that was taken by the parish priest of the old church in March of 1345.”
Let us join our fellow Christians in Holland in celebrating their faith in the Eucharist and in expressing our sincerest regret for the sacrilegious robbery which unfortunately continues to occur even today.
On March 12, 1345, a few days before Easter, a man from Amsterdam whose health was failing sent for a priest. The dying man’s name was Ysbrand Dommer and he did not want to die without receiving Last Rites. After receiving the Eucharist, he vomited into a basin, whose contents were immediately tossed into the fireplace by the woman who looked after him. The next day, Ysbrand was completely cured of his illness.
One of the servants in his house went to light the fire in the fireplace, as was the custom, and she observed a strange light radiating out from the center of the fire. It was the Eucharist that the sick man had vomited the night before. The woman was amazed at the sight and started shouting out to the entire neighborhood. Many came to see the Miracle and were utterly astounded at the sight. In the meantime, Ysbrand was able to recuperate the Host. He wrapped it in a linen cloth and placed it in a case, to take it later to the parish priest. However, the Miracle continued, because the priest ended up having to go back to Ysbrand’s house three times for the Host, which had miraculously returned to the man’s house. That’s when they decided to transform his house into a chapel.
On Easter Sunday, the eyewitnesses and the mayor of the town of Amstel drew up a detailed report of all that had occurred. This document was later presented to the Bishop of Utrech, Jan van Arkel, who authorized devotion to the Miracle.
In 1452, the chapel was destroyed by a fire, but strangely the monstrance containing the miraculous Host remained intact. In 1665, the city council authorized Fr. Jan Van der Mey to convert one of the houses of the former convent of the Beghine into a chapel. Here, the precious monstrance was transferred, but unfortunately was shortly afterwards stolen by unknown thieves. Even today there is perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in memory of the miracle. The only objects that remain from the Eucharistic miracle are the case that contained the Sacred Host, the documents that describe the miracle, and some paintings housed in the Historical Museum of Amsterdam. Every year there is a silent procession (Stille Omgang) in honor of the miracle on the eve of Palm Sunday.
©HM Magazine; º190 May-June 2016