Miracle of the Eucharist at Auschwitz

We had a guest priest at my parish last Sunday. His sermon included a story about a miracle of the Eucharist at the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp:

An older woman, who was not Catholic, was at the camp. (I’m assuming she was Jewish, but he did not say.) One day she was doing forced labor, working on a road, and two prisoners, who were Catholic priests, were led past her by guards. When the guards were distracted, one priest handed her a small box. He told her to give from it to whomever should ask. She took the box, but did not understand. The two priests were led away and executed.

That night about 9 or 10 prisoners came to her, having learned that she had the box. The box contained the Eucharist. The woman did not understand what the Eucharist was, but she obeyed the priest and gave Communion to those who asked for it. She was amazed at the effect that receiving the Eucharist had on these people. Despite their circumstances, when they received Communion, they seemed to obtain great peace and comfort. The Eucharist seemed to change them for the better.

She described the contents of the box as being like little white pills. (Apparently, the priests had taken some ordinary bread and consecrated it in the camp. The pieces of bread must have been compacted into round or oval shapes to avoid falling apart into crumbs.)

She kept that box for about a year, and distributed from it over one thousand times. But the box was small and could not have held much more than about 50 hosts. The miracle is that the box did not go empty. It was like a multiplication of the loaves miracle, but with the consecrated bread of the Eucharist.

Then the same priest, during the same sermon, told another story about this same woman:

One evening she was in the barracks of the camp and she went to the door (I think he said it was because the door was slamming in the wind). She made the mistake of sticking her head out of the door and looking around; this was an offense punishable by death. A guard saw her and approached. He beat her severely, and then tied her to the door with her arms outstretched, much like Christ on the Cross. He walked away.

The guard happened to turn back to glance at her, and he was shocked and horrified. He rushed back and took her down, brought her inside the barracks, and asked the other prisoners to look after her. He begged her forgiveness. Thereafter, he was particularly kind to her, even surreptitiously giving her some extra food at times. This guard was from a Roman Catholic upbringing.

What did he see when he glanced back at the woman? Apparently, he did not see the woman tied to the door. Instead, he had a vision of Christ on the Cross.

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