limerick about mary malone

Mary with Daniel O'Donnell

"The only way I know if someone has been healed is when they write to me. I've heard of thousands of people who have experienced healing through the Holy Spirit," says mystic Mary Malone, who travels the world carrying her message of prayer and the power of God.

In the last 17 years Mary has visited 287 countries, travelled over two million miles, spoken to hundreds of thousands of people and appeared on numerous TV and radio programmes. In 1999 The Sun splashed Mary and her husband Malcolm across its front page, with the headline "The Bolton Wanderers."

"No one can say they are a healer," explains Mary. "We are instruments. It's the Holy Spirit doing the healing. When people say they feel heat or water running down them, it's not Mary Malone or anyone else. Our hands are used through the Spirit."

She acknowledges that some people are sceptical about claims of miraculous healing and emphasises that she cannot guarantee a person will experience healing.

" Many people don't get healed but they often experience a spiritual healing. Everyone has some kind of blessing though. She says confidently Jesus is always close to the sick.

Her own life has not been without suffering. Born with a heart murmur, she developed cancer in the leg at the age of 11. This was cured, she says, with holy water from Knock. After an operation for appendicitis she was in a coma for three days. At the age of 14 she developed pleurisy and silent pneumonia. Then at the age of 40 she had a 7lb tumour removed.

Over the years she claims to have experienced numerous visions, especially of Our Lady, who she says is usually dressed in grey.

"The last time I saw Our Lady was when I was praying in a small church near Knock in October last year.
"I went in to do the stations of the cross. I was kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament and when I turned around Our Lady was standing there with St Bernadette. I got such a shock. She told me she wanted a hundred Masses said for the souls in purgatory.

"The Blessed Mother came to me more times in South Africa than any other country. The messages were mainly about the rosary and the need to pray for peace and love. Mary believes that prayer is easy if people will believe. "You don't have to be on your knees every day. You can talk to God in your own way. But you must pray from the heart. The Our Father is a good prayer to say. God is so merciful and loving. He is the healer. He's not there to condemn us."

She says she has had no trouble from the Church. "I've priests who help me. But I don't understand why priests themselves aren't doing more healing. They have the Blessed Sacrament and,' of course, their hands are anointed. And they too are just instruments."

Born in Bovinion, County Galway, Mary was the eldest of four children. Her childhood was a traditional Irish Catholic one, saying the Rosary together as a family at 6pm each evening and observing the Church's liturgical year.

Early on, she developed a devotion to St Teresa of Lisieux who, she reveals, often sends her roses and always answers her prayers.

At the age of 19, Mary emigrated to the United States, working mainly as a nurse. In 1961 she arrived in England and settled in Westhoughton, near Bolton, Lancashire. Here she met and married Malcolm Vickers.

She worked in his family's clothing business until 1983 when Padre Pio appeared to her in a dream and told her she had the gift of healing.

Given her busy diary - which is organised by her husband, Malcolm, who acts as her manager, Mary spends little time at her house in Westhoughton, which has a life-size statue of Padre Pio in the living room. When she is there she has a tape of the rosary playing throughout the day, and often she will spend between three to five hours in prayer. She may be 65 but her enthusiasm to spread the message of God's healing power around the world remains as strong as ever.

In March she and Malcolm will be visiting the United States and South Africa and later in September they will be travelling to Medjugorje. "I don't get tired," she laughs. "When I arrive in a country I see very little of it. It's work, work and no play."

All each of us has to do is have faith in God and his goodness, she emphasises.

"The road to Heaven is a very long one and it starts here. Every single soul comes from God, whether they are Catholic, Protestant or whatever, It doesn't matter."

Mary with Archbishop Desmond Tutu