A dear friend suggested that I include Lourdes in my overseas trip. ‘Are you going to pray to be transformed?’ she asked. I thought that was a good idea and weeks later, kneeling on the ground in front of the grotto, I asked for transformation. I continued with my trip and a few weeks after returning to Australia, I had a complete loss of appetite, experienced severe insomnia, and was diagnosed as having clinical depression.
The ensuing months saw me unable to work, spending my time between doctors, a therapist and a spiritual director. Medication helped me sleep, but my appetite and mood showed little improvement, and I asked family and friends, including nuns in various congregations, to pray for me. As Lent began, I decided to go to daily Eucharist.
About two weeks ago, feeling absolutely desolate, I went to a healing Eucharist. An elderly nun in the seat in front of me turned and said that she felt called to pray for me, and she beckoned me to sit beside her. I informed her that I was experiencing clinical depression and she began to pray. Her words were very comforting and at the end of the prayer she said that she felt the depression had something to do with ancestral problems. I told her that I had visited the lands of my ancestors and that they had a dark history. She said to offer the depression at the Offering of the Gifts, and to ask that it be transformed at the Consecration. I did this and went home considerably lightened. My appetite returned the next day.
I rang the friend who had encouraged my trip to Lourdes and who had been praying for me for many months. She immediately referred me to a priest she knew. I told him that I had prayed for transformation, but felt that I experienced disintegration . . . I said that I felt like ‘a plucked chook’ and he suggested that I was like Humpty Dumpty ‘who’d had a great fall.’ I agreed saying that all the professionals could not put me together again without God’s aid. This priest, unknowingly, repeated the advice of the elderly nun from St. Augustine’s about offering specific ‘transformational’ prayers at the Offertory and Consecration. He also prayed for the ‘healing of our family tree’ as I recalled some violent incidents in my family history. He prayed for the healing of these wounds.
Subsequently, in the daily Eucharists, I continued to offer myself with the Gifts of bread and wine, asking at the Consecration that I be transformed. Two weeks later, the terrible depression lifted, and sleep and appetite are nearly back to normal.