THE TESTIMONY OF BERNIE REDDIN
(As published in the Teach Mhuire Newsletter, APRIL/MAY 2010)
Following the birth of her second child over 13 years ago, Bernie Reddin, a member of the Teach Mhuire Praying Community was struck down with a debilitating illness. Beginning with flu like symptoms and extreme tiredness and fatigue, Bernie’s illness progressed to palpitations, panic attacks, depression and sensitivity to light, heat and chemicals. When her weight fell to six and a half stone, her body became very weak and debilitated her so much that her Mum had to come in to take over the running of her home and mind her children. She attended doctors, chiropractors, herbalists, and quacks searching for a cure, for which her husband worked night and day to pay for, but nothing worked. Finally Bernie’s sister Doris recommended she see a specialist and he confirmed her illness as M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyeliyis) about which very little was known at that time. He prescribed vitamins, changed her diet and informed her that no cure was actually known.
Bernie received spiritual healing when she attended a mass in Timahoe when Eddie Stone picked her out of the crowd and prayed with her. He rebuked the disease and she rested in the Spirit.. Bernie admits that “while I was sick, even though life was miserable, I always knew that Jesus and Mary were with me. Even though I did question and wondered why me, I did get some sort of consolation from knowing Jesus and Mary were there.”
For quite some time, Bernie’s Sister Doris was writing and asking for healing from priests throughout the country. During the summer of 1989, a Wicklow priest named Fr. Norton was visiting from his parish in Arizona. Doris explained the situation to him and he asked her to bring Bernie down the next day but she said that Bernie was just too sick to travel. He replied by telling her that “No, Jesus said yes she will”. When Bernie visited Fr. Norton’s house she was very weak but explained her situation. Fr. Norton, almost dismissing her complaints said “Oh yes… me, myself and I” and he explained that he couldn’t do anything to help her but looking at a huge Divine Mercy picture he said Bernie you tell “Him” what you want. Bernie said faintly “Jesus I want to get better” and Fr. Norton told her to speak louder and he mimicked her. She did speak louder and said all she wanted was to be able to mind her children and raise them. Fr. Norton mimicked Bernie again and asked her to speak even louder. So she began to get annoyed and really poured her heart out to Jesus and begged him to have mercy on her and heal her.
All of a sudden, she began feeling energy and warmth flowing into her body. “I could feel the healing and the energy” said Bernie. Fr. Norton started walking Bernie around the room and asked her to go and make tea for them all, which she did.
She expected to wake up the next morning back in ill health but instead she was full of energy and love. She cooked dinner, drove the childminder home and walked in Garryhinch Wood and felt like she could do anything during that time. Her instant healing gave her a glimpse of the love and beauty of our relationship with God, without worldly distractions and she couldn’t stop smiling. She was healed.
Bernie kept in contact with Fr. Norton and he became her spiritual director. “He empowered me”, Bernie says. “He gave me a whole new relationship with Jesus” and she became eager to know more about the word of God. She began reading at mass, became a Eucharistic minister and was on the Baptism, Communion and Confirmation programmes. She also became a member of the Mountmellick prayer group and eventually the Teach Mhuire praying community.
Bernie says that now she can relate so much to the love of God and that Jesus is Lord of her Life. She gives everything to him and tries to work for God in every way. She admits that she can fall flat on her face and struggle but she senses his presence all around her and trusts that all is well. She is now glad her illness happened because it brought her to where she is today. She understands now, why Fr. Norton made the comment Me, myself and I”. She says that when you’re very sick, you can become totally consumed by the illness and no medicine can cure it, but the only release from it is the almighty. Her close relationship with Jesus has given her love, joy and a new outlook and she has been blessed with many gifts.
Bernie went back to school and is now a pre-school teacher and works with disadvantaged children, which she says allows her to give hope to parents and pass on a little of her faith. She is now very well.
In loving memory of Fr. Norton, R.I.P. who died 2 years ago.