The Eucharistic Miracle Of Santarem
About an hour from Fatima is the village of Santarem. In that city is "the Church of the Miracle" as it is called today. For centuries that parish Church has also been known as the Church of Santo Estevao (Saint Stephen). Narrators place the date of the Eucharistic Miracle some time from 1247 to 1266.
There lived in Santarem a poor woman who was made miserable by the activities of her unfaithful husband. In her extreme unhappiness she consulted a sorceress, who promised deliverance from her trials for the price of a Consecrated Host. After many hesitations the woman finally consented, and visited the Church of Saint Stephen. After receiving Holy Communion, she removed the Host from her mouth and wrapped it in her veil, intending to take it to the sorceress. But within a few moments blood began to issue from the Host. The amount of blood increased so much that it dripped from the veil and attracted the attention of bystanders. Seeing blood on the woman's hand and arm and thinking her injured, several people went to help. The woman avoided them and ran to her home.
Hoping to hide the bloody veil and its contents, she placed them in a chest; but during the night she was forced to reveal them to her husband when a mysterious light issued from the trunk, penetrating the wood and illuminating the whole house. Both knelt down in adoration until dawn when the parish priest was summoned.
The Host was taken in procession to the Church of Saint Stephen where it was encased in wax and placed into the tabernacle. Some time later when the tabernacle was opened another miracle had taken place. The wax that had encased the Host was found broken into pieces and the Host was found miraculously enclosed in a beautiful crystal pyx. This crystal pyx which had been miraculously formed about the bleeding Host was then placed in a gold plated silver monstrance and can be seen to this very day.
For many years I led pilgrimages to Fatima from the USA, we would visit this ancient Church of Santarem. I held the monstrance in my hands as pilgrims came up to view and venerate the bleeding Host within close range. Once I came with a doctor from the United States who was a surgeon. He was permitted to stand beside me before the tabernacle as I took the bleeding Host in the crystal pyx and he examined it closely. The doctor acquainted with human blood from frequent surgeries stood there in awe and said: "Father.....That is real human blood."
The number of pilgrimages to the Church with the bleeding Host continued to increase. Then restrictions were placed upon pilgrims. The miraculous Host was thus placed in a less accessible place. Now the Host is contained in a special tabernacle of its own, high up over the main altar. After the Mass the sacristan pushes a button and the monstrance with the bleeding Host becomes visible as a door to a special tabernacle for it opens high up above the altar. Pilgrims are still permitted to view it at its high location but must approach it from a raised sacristy room behind the sanctuary. They ascend steps up to the Host, one at a time, and see the bleeding Host at a very close range but with its special glass tabernacle from its back side. Proper lighting makes it clearly visible.
Viewing the miraculous Host has a deep affect on many pilgrims to appreciate even more deeply the Real Presence of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity or Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the consecrated Host.
Source: Fr. R.J. Fox