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Indiana priest says he was cured of brain cancer during pilgrimage to Lourdes France, after surgery

An Indiana priest claims that he was healed of brain cancer after making a religious pilgrimage to Lourdes, France in June 2022. 

In a video posted to YouTube, Fr. John Hollowell states how he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in February 2020 and underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation to treat it. 

Despite the treatments, the tumor was starting to grow back, yet following a visit to Lourdes, Hollowell says that he felt physically stronger and cognitively improved upon his return to the U.S.

An MRI conducted in November 2022 later showed that the tumor, which had been removed following surgery, may never grow back – and that all that was visible was scar tissue. 

A priest from Indiana, Fr. John Hollowell claims to have been cured of a brain tumor after making a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France in June 2022

Before his diagnosis, Hollowell, who serves the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, had offered up his own pain as a form of redemptive suffering for victims of clerical sexual abuse, with approximately 170 survivors of Catholic clergy abuse reaching out to him. 

‘I was able to take all the names in with me to that surgery,’ he explained. ‘So I made the video mostly for the victim survivors of Catholic clergy sexual abuse, just to let them know that I had been healed.’

He says that while he was willing to make the sacrifice, he claims he realized that God used his suffering to help him the most. 

‘When the scandals of 2018 broke out, most of you know that they have affected me deeply, as they have most of the church,’ Hollowell wrote in a blog following his diagnosis.

‘I prayed in 2018 that if there was some suffering I could undertake on behalf of all the victims, some cross I could carry, I would welcome that. I feel like this is that cross, and I embrace it willingly,’ he stated.

He also notes that the anniversary of his diagnosis, February 11th, is also the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes to St. Bernadette Soubirous – a French nun who lived in the 1800s whose visions of the Virgin Mary ultimately lead to the founding of the shrine of Lourdes.

‘I just wanted to make a video really quickly to let everybody know that I actually was healed of my brain tumor in Lourdes,’ Hollowell stated. ‘I had a pretty negative MRI about two-and-a-half months before I left for Lourdes.

‘The MRI showed that [the tumor] was starting to grow back … The MRI that I had also had found a tumor on my pituitary gland, as well,’ he said.

‘Like Naaman the Syrian in our first reading, who washed and was cleansed from leprosy in the Jordan, I washed in the river at Lourdes and was cured and like the leper who returns to give thanks, I want to publicly thank Jesus for healing me,’ he wrote.

Lourdes is a well-known pilgrimage site for many believers and has had 70 healings recognized as miraculous by the Catholic Church

Lourdes is a well-known pilgrimage site for many believers and has had 70 healings recognized as miraculous by the Catholic Church

‘I want to thank Jesus for the gift not just of my healing but also the gift of the tumor surgeries, radiation and chemo as well.

‘Almost nothing in my life is the same since my surgeries, radiation and chemo,’ he also wrote, ‘and I have realized that all those differences in my life since the surgeries, radiation and chemo have been blessings.’

Hollowell says his cognitive ability also improved following his trip to France. 

‘I felt a lot stronger when I got back from Lourdes. Friends, family and parishioners told me that I looked a lot healthier,’ he told Fox News. ‘When I got back from Lourdes, I could preach without a prepared text again.’ he explained, noting how he had been relying on written passages before his pilgrimage.

‘I was OK if I died — I was willing to make the sacrifice for victims of Catholic clergy abuse. But I thought, ‘Well, if I go to Lourdes, and I’m healed there, then that might have an impact on some of my fallen-away family and friends,” he said on video.

Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center is not altogether surprised at his good news given that Hollowell had a 74 percent five-year survival rate.

‘I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe in miracle cures and I believe in Lourdes but with this particular tumor, there is about a 74% five-year survival rate, depending on what grade it is,’ Dr. Siegel explained.

‘And Hollowell had surgery and chemotherapy, so it’s not surprising to me that the tumor is gone.’

Siegel also said that he did not have ‘the most severe of all brain tumors,’ and that it ‘could be cured.’

‘I don’t think it’s all Lourdes in this case. But I do think doctors have the hands of God — that’s a well-known saying. Great surgery, great chemo — and the power of prayer.’ 


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