Photo: Marian archives
Saint John Paul II blesses Maureen at St. Faustina’s beatification in 1991. John Paul II would go on the canonize St. Faustina in 2000.
Saint Faustina's Miracle: The Digans Tell Their Story
In 1981, at the tomb of Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska in Poland, Maureen Digan experienced a healing from incurable Milroy's disease. Her healing was deemed a miracle through the intercession of Sr. Faustina, which led to Faustina's beatification in 1993. Maureen and her husband, Deacon Bob Digan, of Lee, Massachusetts, have released a DVD, "In the Name of Miracles," which tells their story. They spoke with us about the project.
What do you hope to achieve with the documentary?
To proclaim to the world God's goodness and endless mercy and how He continues to act in the world and in people's lives; that He is real and wants us to turn to Him with trust. We believe that our Good Lord had allowed Maureen and I to get to the point of hopelessness. Then, He showed us His mercy at St. Faustina's tomb that day in 1981 when Maureen was instantly healed. He showed what happens when we put our trust in Him. It is our deep hope that others — particularly people who struggle to believe in God and who are broken-hearted and desperate for hope and for meaning — have a chance to watch this documentary. No matter who you are or what your experiences may be, everyone can get something out of knowing Maureen's and my experience, which was a first-hand and unequivocal experience of God at work in the world today.
I'm sure the film opens up old wounds for you both, considering how the life and death of your son, Bobby, is so intertwined with the story. [Bobby was born with severe neurological disabilities. The Digans believe that he, too, received a miraculous healing at Faustina's tomb that allowed him to live another 10 years, nearly four of which showed no physical manifestation of seizure activity Divine control.]
It's very overwhelming and emotional for us to relive the experiences: the joys, hopes, and painful moments, a rollercoaster ride for sure. I [Bob] recall speaking at a mercy conference in New Zealand and my mind was flooded with painful images of these past experiences. I got so caught up in these painful memories that I jumped off the stage and put my handkerchief in my mouth and began to sob bitterly. When Maureen needs to work out her memories, she stares at her "cry picture" and this helps her release her emotions. Nonetheless, there are some consoling memories, such as that Bobby's neurologist had asked for a picture of Bobby so that he could put on his desk to remind him of courage, perseverance, and humor. Bobby's smile was contagious.
I watched the film knowing beforehand your story. But even so, I was deeply moved. What sort of feedback are you receiving?
Many have been moved to tears and wanting to share this story in their parishes as a powerful witness to God's mercy. Father Michael Callea, MIC, relates, "I cannot tell you how perfectly your DVD fit into my retreat. The witness that you, Maureen, and Bobby gave was powerful. But in a particular way, I found Bobby's witness so compelling. He is leading souls back to God!" The reaction is just as we intended: to bring hope and consolation to others. Most people can identify in some way with the human experience and struggles in the film. I [Bob] recall speaking with a priest who was discouraged and moody. He said to me, "So what's your story?" After I shared with him our story, he said: "I needed to hear this. I can't thank you enough for sharing. You have changed my life."
Back in 1981, few people had ever heard of Sr. Faustina. Now her influence on the Church is enormous. What do you think about all this? To what degree do you feel her presence in your lives?
Saint Faustina is constantly on our minds and in our hearts. Her wisdom, her writings, her courage, and her example are always before us. Maureen calls St. Faustina her "sister." I do too. We feel so blessed to have played a part in helping to make her known to the world, both as a powerful intercessor and as a spiritual model for modern times. Saint Faustina should be declared a Doctor of the Church, and no doubt we pray for this.
Please describe the making of the documentary. How long did it take and what did its production involve?
It was seven years in the making. The producer, Elizabeth Wilda, who has produced several documentaries, did it without payment, as a labor of love. Her reward, she said, is having gotten to know Maureen and myself, several priests, and St. Faustina's writings. The production work involved filming interviews, location footage, and transferring old home movies and photos. For all her labors and patience, we are deeply grateful. We often encouraged her, telling her that she was making history and, above all, bringing people to God's mercy. This was her ministry as an apostle of Divine Mercy.
You admit that, though you both were at the very epicenter of Faustina's miraculous intercession, you still, from time to time, have your spiritual struggles like everyone else.
We do, true. But we find strength through the Divine Mercy devotions given to the world through St. Faustina. Regarding Christ's call that we venerate the Divine Mercy Image that He instructed Faustina to have painted, our good friend the late Fr. George Kosicki, CSB, a prolific writer on God's mercy, instructed Maureen and I that we come before the Image of Divine Mercy for "Divine radiation therapy." Venerating the image keeps us spiritually centered.
As a viewer, I'm grateful for all the old footage you've incorporated into this, many of it with Bobby. I assume it was you, Bob, that was the "camera man." At the time, were you taking the footage just as a family keepsake, or did you sense something extraordinary was occurring?
Yes, as personal movies, yet, above all, we went to Poland to Faustina's tomb with me being convinced that both Maureen and Bobby would be healed through Sr. Faustina's intercession, and that our experience would help make God's mercy known and embraced throughout the world. In a mystical sense, I saw a connection in what we were going through as a Calvary experience and there would be an Easter, a resurrection not only for us but for the Church and the world.
And as you say, the Church and the world are going through a crucifixion now —
— and a resurrection. The message of Divine Mercy is the prophetic message to follow. It gives hope and encouragement to all the world.
You can order "In the Name of Miracles" through ShopMercy.org or by calling 1-800-462-7426. Product Code: FM-MDDVD. ($19.95)