Who is Therese Neumann?

Nora V. Clemente-Arnaldo

She is not a showbiz, fashion or music celebrity but her interesting life story celebrates that which is more important: the miracle of Christ in the Eucharist.

Family Background

Therese Neumann was born on 6 April 1898, Good Friday, in a small village in Konnerseuth, Bavaria, Germany. She was baptized two days later on Easter Sunday. Therese was named after St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the little flower of Jesus; and St. Teresa of Avila, the extraordinary mystic and the reformer of the Carmelites, She was the eldest of ten children and ably assisted her parents in taking care of her younger siblings. Her father was drafted into service during the First World War so Therese worked in her uncle’s farm to help support her family. She was sturdy and strong and was as able as most men to do heavy farm work.

Therese was a spiritual woman and desired to join the missionary sisters of St. Benedict in the African missions. She dreamed of this ever since she was young but God had other plans for her.

On 10 March 1918, Therese met an accident while she was helping her uncle put out a fire in the barn. Her spine was permanently damaged and she became prone to falls. Eventually she became a bedridden invalid and, worse, blind. But in spite of her physical handicap, Therese always prayed to her namesake, St. Thérèse.

Medical Miracles

On 29 April 1925, Therese miraculously regained her sight and what great joy it was for her! That day happened to be the same day Pope Pius XI beatified St. Thérèse of Lisieux in Rome. Therese’s favorite intercessor became a saint the day she received her first miracle.

Then on 17 May 1925, the Lord granted Therese another miracle – her body was completely healed of its paralysis and gaping bedsores. According to medical reports, some of her sores were deep enough to expose her bones. At the moment of her miraculous healing, Therese’s bedsores were said to have been replaced by a fresh layer of skin.

A third miracle occurred on 13 November 1925 when Therese suffered from acute appendicitis. The doctor ordered that she be taken to the hospital immediately. As arrangements were being made, St. Thérèse appeared to her in a vision and obtained for her an instantaneous cure.

These miracles that Therese received fortified and strengthened her faith and trust in God.

The Gift of the Holy Wounds of Jesus (Stigmata)

The physical wounds of the crucified Christ manifested in Therese on 4 March 1926. Blood gushed forth from her heart after she had a vision of Jesus suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. Therese continued to have the wounds throughout Lent, and before Easter she had five wounds on her hands, feet and at her side. It is written that Therese obtained numerous conversions by her sharing in the Passion of Christ. Through her wounds, many people were awakened as they saw in her Jesus’ very own agony on the cross.

Then on 5 November 1926, Therese received another nine wounds on her head representing Christ’s wounds from the crown of thorns, as well as wounds on her shoulders and back similar to wounds sustained by Christ during the scourging. These wounds remained with Therese until her holy death.

Therese Neumann as a Victim Soul

Therese suffered for the souls of sinners. She took upon herself the suffering of others as permitted by God and with His grace. One instance was when Therese took upon herself a throat disease that threatened the life of a young seminarian. She suffered from this throat ailment until the day the newly ordained priest celebrated his first Mass. God always granted Therese’s desire to take on the pain of others like her father’s rheumatism, a mother’s delivery pains, and a farmer’s severe stomach ache.

Therese’s 35-Year Fast from Food and Water

In August 1926, Therese experienced a strong aversion to any form of food. Christmas that same year was the last time she ate any food save for the Blessed Host and water.

On 30 September 1927, St. Thérèse’s death anniversary, Therese saw her favourite saint in a vision and told her that she no longer needed any earthly food or drink. The Bishop of Regensburgh asked Therese to submit herself to medical observation to be conducted by the Mollersdorfer Sisters, a nursing order. The sisters stayed with Therese at her home and monitored her 24 hours a day. They wanted to confirm the miracle of inedia or the ability to survive without nourishment.

When asked what she lived on, Therese’s constant reply was, “The Savior can do all things. Did He not say that ‘My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink?’” After a thorough investigation, German doctor Otto Burchinger reported that “Here is something which defied modern science. The phenomena and miracles are inexplicable by any so-called rational thinking. Whether we like it or not, there is something spiritual which causes this phenomena.”

Therese’s Mystical Gifts

Therese recognized priests as priests. She could tell if one was not a man with consecrated hands. She also had the gift of telling the difference between consecrated and not consecrated hosts. Therese was given many visions of our Lord and was shown details of His earthly life, from His birth to His resurrection. She was often visited by our Blessed Mother, the saints and the angels. Therese was also known to have received the Lord in the Eucharist by “tele-communion,” that is, the host flew from the tabernacle to her lips.

Therese’s Holy Death

On 18 September 1962, Therese died of cardiac arrest, receiving her heavenly reward at age 64. She received that day a rare grace – a miraculous telecommunion where the host appeared on her tongue. In life and in death, Jesus gave Himself to Therese Neumann, His faithful servant.

(Sources: Miracles of the Eucharist by Bob and Penny Lord; Story Corner by Dosu Baba; Wikipedia)

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