While reading the text of Epiphany, I often think about the little miracle in Slavgorod, Eastern Siberia. The Magi started out toward Bethlehem to adore the newborn child in a crèche. Our miracle did not happen on January 6, but this family, this mother followed the star shining in the dark in order to see the great light. She is carrying the gift of life in her arms, a life as precious as gold, incense and myrrh. Gold for the precious gift of life, incense for prayer rising up to God that is answered, and myrrh, anointing and healing. Therefore I want to tell you this story.
At our parting from Slavgorod in July, 2015, a young woman told the story of her little daughter. She was carrying her in her arms. Her eyes were filled with tears and the eyes of many of the faithful were also tear-filled, as witnesses of this miracle.
In the summer of 2014 this young, six-month pregnant woman, Swetlana, was taken to the hospital in the capital Barnaul, about an 8-hour ride by car and 9-hour ride by train.
Her small daughter was born by Cesarean section. The doctors thought the baby would not survive and the mother was taken to the recovery room.
Swetlana’s parents came to church on Sunday and told us ASCs about their great concern and pain. Sister Maria suggested that they have the small child baptized immediately. The grandparents thought Svetlana wanted the baby baptized in church. That very evening Swetlana telephoned the sisters telling them about her great concern and asking their help. Sister Maria insistently advised her that she herself should baptize the baby in the incubator since there was no priest at the hospital. We went to church together and prayed for the healing of the child and her mother. Slowly the child made progress, but she was still very far behind in her development.
When Swetlana was dismissed from the hospital, she was still not sure her baby would live. We advised the mother to go to another doctor whom we knew and who had already helped many children and also adults. Swetlana said she was not able to pay the doctor. We were able to help her with money given to us by friends. Dr. Klassen cared for the baby for quite some time. And the child kept improving.
During a doctor’s appointment in Barnaul, the doctors said it was almost a miracle how the small child had developed.
After a little more than six months we were able to celebrate her solemn baptism in Church.
When Swetlana, holding her daughter in her arms said, “Look, this is the miracle that our sisters with God’s help and the generosity of friends worked.” Everyone present could feel great gratitude.
Sr. Maria Hammerer, asc