The following chapter is taken, with permission of the author, from
Wayne Weible's book "Medjugorje - The Message",
Paraclete Press, U.S.A. For the cover of the book see http://www.medjugorje.eu/book.
Rita Klaus has written herself a book "Rita's Story" about her
miraculous healing of multiple sclerosis. It was available from
Paraclete Press, but the book is out of print now.
that through prayer,
you can stop wars,
and you can alter
the laws of
nature. . . ."
Wonderful things happened at Ephrata House. It was a blessing
that Father Pervan would be able to tour the United States,
bringing the events of Medjugorje to all corners of this
country. It would also help him to understand these enigmatic
Americans who were now streaming into his little village by
the thousands. The retreat also marked the first time that
those of us working to make Medjugorje's message known had
gathered together to share our stories and ideas, and it
launched the columns as a tool for spreading the message. But
the most memorable event was the powerful witness of Rita
Klaus, a school teacher from Evans City, Pennsylvania, a small
town near Pittsburgh. Rita's story was the last item on the
agenda — and that was where it belonged, for nothing else
could have followed it.
she began to relate the events that culminated in her presence
at the retreat, we sat there, spellbound and overwhelmed.
Truly Ann Debeats, the energetic young woman who ran the
Center for Peace for John Hill and was serving as the leader
of the retreat, had saved the best wine for last:
sat there too stunned to react — then there was thunderous
applause. Rita's story was the final cap on spiritual weekend
that had already been incredibly full. But there was more than
just her story that attracted me to Rita. I felt a strong
kinship to her. My sister, Lola, had Multiple Sclerosis. I had
introduced her to what was happening at Medjugorje and then let
her make her own decision as to its authenticity. She had been
hesitant at first, as she, too, was Lutheran. But after reading
much of the material and reviewing the video tapes, and hearing
my own story, she was convinced.
very new to Medjugorje; in fact, I hadn't heard about it
until February of this year. I read about it in the National
Catholic Register and was very interested. Shortly
after that, I ordered a book called Is the Virgin Mary
Appearing at Medjugorje? by Rene Laurentin. I read
it, and I believed immediately. I began to pray more and to
fast, and asked my children to pray the rosary. But I guess
I'm getting ahead of my story.
months ago, I had Multiple Sclerosis. I had had it for more
than 25 years. I was first diagnosed as having it when I was
20 years old, and it was difficult to accept. Of course I
went through all the channels of denying I had it; I just
would not accept it. As it began to progress, I rationalized
it was something else. It was ruining my life; I was
depressed and very angry inside — and very hurt. Yet I
wanted to do what God wanted me to do.
five years ago, a friend asked me to come to a healing
service, but I really wasn't into the Charismatic Movement,
so I tried to get out of going. But my friend wouldn't take
no for an answer, and my husband pointed out that I had
tried everything else, so what could it hurt to go?
service began with the praying of a rosary, so that wasn't
so bad. I was sitting in a pew towards the back of the
church, and when the procession of priests started, I felt
someone grab me from behind. At first I was totally
embarrassed, because I had already made up my mind that I
wasn't going to volunteer to go to the front for special
prayers or anything. Then something strange happened; I felt
this wonderful peace come over me. It was as if all the
unhappiness of the years of suffering through this disease
that evening, I vowed to improve my spiritual life. Up to
this point, I was very bitter towards the Catholic Church.
Though I had continued to attend Mass, I was simply going
through the motions. Now, I wanted to make up for that. I
told my pastor what had happened and asked him to pray that
I might continue to be at peace.
the end of that year the paralysis was in both legs and my
arms. This, of course, upset me because of my work as a
teacher, and because of my husband and children, and the
hardship it put on them. But I had a good parish. Neighbors
drove me to school, my husband scrubbed floors, and the kids
helped out where they could.
legs became severely deformed, and the bones began to bow.
My right knee became completely displaced because of the
spasticity of the leg; the knee-cap came off and slid over
into the interior of the leg. Also, there was now no feeling
left at all.
this stage I was forced to go to a rehabilitation hospital.
It was time to face up to the fact that I was handicapped —
and to begin life in a wheelchair. My husband could accept
the braces and the crutches, but he couldn't stand the
wheelchair. Yet it was something we both would have to face
and live with. We loved the outdoors and liked to go
camping. This would really slow that down for us.
there were some good things happening. Many people pitched
in to help, and the state came in and installed thousands of
dollars worth of equipment in the school where I was
teaching and in my home.
I said earlier, I had sent off for the book about the
apparitions at Medjugorje. I was really impressed and told
my husband about it, but he's not Catholic — he's Lutheran,
so it didn't have much effect on him. Anyway, we tried to
improve our prayer life, and I personally set aside an extra
hour each day for meditation.
one night in June this year, as I lay in bed finishing my
rosary, I heard a voice say, Why don't you ask? I don't know
why, because I had never asked before to be healed. I had
come to accept my handicap. But it just came to me as I lay
there. So I asked with all my heart for her to ask her Son
to heal me of whatever I needed to be healed. At that moment
I felt a bubbly feeling go through me, and I don't remember
anything else as I fell asleep.
I awoke the next morning, I didn't think about the night
before. I had a Scripture class I attended at a nearby
college, and I prepared to go to that class. My husband
helped me into our van which was equipped with hand controls
for me, and he placed my wheelchair in the van as he always
did. When I got to the college, there was always someone
there to help me and get me to class.
I didn't notice anything unusual right away. Suddenly, as I
sat there studying with the rest of the class, I began to
experience a feeling of warmth in my feet and legs and an
intense itching. But there was no way this could be
happening, as I had no feeling in my feet and hadn't for
several years. Then I looked down at my feet and not only
were they itching, but my toes were wiggling! I was totally
I didn't remember another thing in the class; in fact, I
don't even remember leaving the class and getting into my
van. All I wanted to do at that time was get home and tell
my family what was happening to me.
I arrived at my house, I remembered that there was no one
home. I had complained earlier that I had no strawberries
and would they please go to the strawberry farm and pick
some for me if they had time that morning. Evidently, they
had gone and not returned in time to get me into the house.
They did have the foresight to leave my crutches at the
bottom of the three steps leading into our house.
Occasionally, if I needed to get into the house, I could do
it with the crutches. But it took a great deal of difficulty
to do it.
I sat there in the car for about 15 minutes, waiting. I was
filled with disappointment because I wanted so much to tell
them what was happening. Then, I had to go to the bathroom.
My handicap also included bladder and bowel dysfunction, and
I had been in class all morning. . . . so I had to get in
and get in right away!
I stretched out of the car and got the crutches Ray had left
for me within easy reach. I could not, however, lift my leg
with the heavy braces on them. I stood there for a few
minutes and then thought that if I could feel my feet —
maybe I could also lift my leg. I tried it, and it went up
the steps with no difficulty. My heart was pounding!
in the house, I went to my bedroom on the first floor and
leaning against the bed to unlock my braces, I looked down
at my legs. I thought they looked kind of funny; then I
looked again and it hit me that my right leg was completely
straight! I had had two surgeries on it to attempt to
straighten it, but neither had been successful. In fact,
they had finally released the kneecap (surgically) to let it
go with the rest of my knee, stating that was all they could
do with it. A severe valgus deformity had resulted from the
years of spasticity and muscle imbalance.
I looked now, it was straight. The kneecap was where it was
supposed to be. My legs were perfectly straight!
that point, I completely flipped out and began screaming
that my legs were straight. I kept saying, "Thank you
Blessed Mother! Thank you Jesus!" But it still had not sunk
in that I was healed. Shaking, I took off the braces and
stood up on my legs, unassisted, for the first time in
years. I looked down again; they were like anyone else's
legs! Finally it struck me that something very wonderful had
I walked down the hallway. . . walked down the hallway,
with my crutches under my arm. When I got to the base of
the stairs, I thought: well, if I'm really healed, I can run
up those stairs. So I dropped my crutches and did it — and
then ran back down and up again. And I just kept shouting
"Thank you!" over and over. I went a little hysterical,
weeping and laughing at the same time. . . . I was in shock.
I felt like St. Paul when he was knocked off his horse.
Finally, when I had sobered up a little, I decided to tell
someone so I tried to call my pastor. But I kept dialing my
own number! When I got through to him I said, "Father
Bergman, I'm healed! I'm healed! I don't have MS anymore!"
And he answered, "Who is this?" I said, "This is Rita — I'm
fine, you don't understand, I'm healed!" Then, after a
moment of silence he said, "Rita, I want you to sit down,
take some aspirin and call your doctor — promise me you'll
I didn't know what else to say, so I just hung up on him and
called a good friend who also taught at St. Gregory's. She
recognized my voice, but by this time, I could hardly talk,
and she thought something terrible had happened. She flew to
the house, and that's something because we live way out in
the country. I remember I was standing in the middle of the
living room floor, jumping up and down when she arrived;
soon we were both jumping up and down as she realized what
friend calmed me down some and said we needed to find my
family so that we could tell them, so we left for the
strawberry farm. Since we had to go by the rectory of the
church, we decided to stop and show my pastor that
I was healed. He was in the study, and when he saw me
standing in front of him, it hit him what had happened. All
Father Bergman could do was stare at me, and he kept saying,
"Sit down, Rita, you haven't used those muscles for a long
time!' I told him I was fine and that I felt like I was 17
left there and headed for the farm, but when we arrived, my
family had left, so we were off again for the house. When we
got there, my friend ran in to get Ray who came out, white
as a sheet. He thought something must have happened, because
my car was still there and the braces and crutches were in
the house, and that an ambulance must have come and taken me
to the hospital.
I jumped out of the car and ran to him. My oldest daughter
just stood there in tears and completely dumbfounded and
choked up. She's twelve and my other two daughters are ten
and seven. They had never known me any way other than
was. . . an indescribable scene. My oldest was crying, the
middle one just stood there with her mouth open, and my
little one said, "Oh, goody! Now we don't have to do
housework anymore!" She followed that with, "You look silly,
awhile, we all calmed down and decided we better call my
doctor. Would you believe, he was out playing golf! The next
day, I went back to my Scripture class, but I didn't know
what to do about them. If I told them, the class would be
totally disrupted so I decided to go in the wheelchair. That
was the hardest thing ever — to have to sit there in that
chair knowing I was well. Later, when I returned home we
were finally able to contact my doctor.
told him what had happened, and he kept saying, "That can't
be! That can't happen; it's impossible!" He asked my husband
if I was walking, and he said, "No, she's running!" He asked
us to come to the hospital right away.
we got there, everyone on the staff was waiting. I had just
been there a couple of weeks before that. They were stunned.
My doctor thought it was a joke, saying I must be Rita's
twin sister. He then conducted a lot of neurological tests
and found everything to be perfect. After exhaustive tests,
all he could do was hug me and cry and ask me what did I do?
I told him all I did was ask. How many times? Once, I
answered him, but many people have been praying for me for
years. He then asked, did I use up all the prayers, or were
there still some for him? It was wonderful.
this has happened to me, many things in my life have
changed. I witness now to other MS patients, and to groups.
And I pray a lot to God and His Holy Mother. I just ask you
to pray that whatever I do, I do it well. Thank you, and God
I couldn't wait to tell Lola about Rita and her healing — and
Rita about Lola. As soon as I could get through the crowd that
had immediately surrounded Rita, we sat down and began talking.
"I think if Lola could have a picture of you to go with the
story," I told her, "that would give her great faith and hope."
Rita obliged by letting me take her picture and then had a
picture made with me. Even as I thanked her, I somehow knew also
that this would not be the last I would see of Rita Klaus.