« SECOND REGARD »
1997 - 1998 SEASON
Carole-Anne Petit-Bélanger, director
Pauline Aubut, assistant
Gilles-Claude Thériault, journalist
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Date of last update : February 10th, 2000.
COLOR BARS - [00 :00]
TEXT 1 - [00 :20] – « ON INTRO MUSIC » [53s]
Strange, astonishing, inexplicable phenomena…
Oil oozes from an image of the Virgin Mary;
Oil oozes from Myrna’s face and hands,
and during ecstasies,
she sees the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ...
And, on four occasions, she received Christ's wounds...
TEXT 1A - [01 :13] [8s]
« Our Lady of Soufanieh, Source of Holy Oil, Damascus – Syria. »
MYRNA 1 - [01 :21] [46s]
I was 18 years old when the events began,
Six months after being married.
I like to pray, but not as much as people imagine.
I was so frightened then because I didn't understand what was happening.
But when I saw the first drop of oil oozing from the icon
and when I heard the message of the Virgin Mary:
"My daughter Mary, do not be afraid, I am with you; open the doors and don't deprive anyone from my sight. Light me a candle.",
I surrendered to God's will and I asked God to strengthen me and to help me understand what is happening.
TEXT 2 - [02 :07] [25s]
On November 27th, 1982,
oil began to ooze from an image
representing the orthodox icon of Our Lady of Kazan.
And oil oozes from Myrna's hands while praying...
MYRNA 2 - [02 :32] [28s]
At first, when Nicolas heard that oil oozed from my hands, he told me: "you must have eaten something oily without wiping you hands.
Don't tell anyone.. I don't want people to make fun of us."
He didn't believe me in the beginning.
But when he saw the icon oozing oil, he knelt and cried.
FATHER ELIAS 1 - [03 :00] [54s]
Nicolas is a very reserved and discrete person
who doesn't like to be disturbed by anyone.
Whereas since 15 years, he is more than annoyed.
Sometimes he says jokingly:
" Nothing belongs to me anymore. Not even my wife!" .
And Nicolas, who was very distant from God,
who even thought that he could marry Myrna without a priest,
- you can imagine how little his faith or belief was -,
Nicolas is now a totally changed man...
…a peaceful, discrete and a welcoming person.
MYRNA 3 - [03 :54] [20s]
I consider that Nicolas’ faith is stronger than mine,
and the Lord chose him to help me in my mission.
As for myself, I have 'seen', and it is a consolation for me,
but he 'sees' through me.
TEXT 3 - [04 :14] [31s]
Father Elias Zahlaoui, is a Greek-Melkite Catholic priest
and vicar of the parish of Our Lady of Damascus.
He is one of the spiritual guides of Myrna and Nicolas...
A privileged witness since the beginning of the phenomenon,
He accompanies Myrna...
He is almost permanently involved in the events of
Our Lady of Soufanieh...
GILLES-CLAUDE 1 - [04 :45] [11s]
After seing Myrna and all these phenomena,
did you think you were facing a case of hysteria for example?
FATHER ELIAS 2 - [04 :56] [12s]
Yes. I asked myself this question several times.
Myrna, as I knew her since the beginning of the phenomenon,
always seemed to be a very simple girl,
a well-balanced person and of a cheerful character.
TEXT 4 - [05 :08] [67s]
These events are taking place in the Middle East.
In Damascus, Syria.
A Moslem city where Christians are numerous.
A famous city in the history of Christianity
that witnessed the conversion of Saint Paul...
Since 15 years, this little house of the Christian neighbourhood
of Soufanieh has been the scene of astonishing facts:
oozing of oil,
apparitions of the Virgin Mary
and visions of Jesus Christ during ecstasies...
Events so disconcerting,
that sound like a fairy tale from the « Arabian Nights »…
Father Malouli, Myrna's other spiritual guide
welcomes pilgrims of all denominations
who come to Soufanieh from all over the world.
FATHER ELIAS 3 - [06 :15] [13s]
Right from the beginning of the phenomenon, instinctively,
Nicolas and Myrna had, I would say, an honest reaction by putting a sign in the entrance of their house where one could read:
« We refuse all donations. »
MYRNA 4 - [06 :28]
Because God gave us His graces out of pure generosity, in return,
we also try to give generously.
TEXT 5 - [06 :__]
It is in this atmosphere that Myrna and Nicolas raise their children...
MYRNA 5 - [06 :45] [10s]
... God chose a young bride and in several messages,
He insisted that my married life remains unchanged.
TEXT 6 - [06 :55] [13s]
John-Emmanuel is now 9 years old, and Myriam is 11.
FATHER ELIAS 4 - [07 :08] [11s]
Seeing how Myrna, Nicolas, and the children react,
one is really astonished…
which points us to a supernatural presence.
TEXT 7 - [07 :19] [15s]
In the first days of the phenomenon, the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate
sent a bishop and two priests to the Nazzour's home...
And in front of them, oil oozed again from Myrna's hands…
FATHER ELIAS 5 - [07 :34] [77s]
On November 28th, 1982, the following day of the phenomenon,
four officers from the Syrian secret services and a physician came to the house to investigate.
Two of the officers introduced themselves as government officials,
while the other two mingled with the crowd.
They wanted to examine the image.
They disassembled the frame to check if there were hidden tubes in it.
Oil was exuding from the image.
They examined it and put it back to its place.
They had also heard that oil oozed from Myrna's hands.
They asked her to wash her hands in front of them, and so she did.
She wiped her hands with a dry towel.
They took her to the living room and told her:"now, pray!".
After a few moments of silence, and in front of everyone,
Myrna's hands were covered with oil.
The physician held her hands,
scratched her palms and turned them on both sides.
Her forearms were completely dry while her palms were full of oil.
He then looked at the officers and said:
God is great!
And that was it.
TEXT 8 - [08 :51] [26s]
The different analyses of the oil in Syria, Germany, France and Italy revealed it to be 100% pure olive oil.
MYRNA 6 - [09 :17] [32s]
I think that oil is a light.
Because many people recovered their faith because of this drop of oil.
And many were healed.
Of course, it is not the oil that heals, but the person’s faith,
through this drop of oil.
I consider oil as a light, but I cannot say more than that
because I don't know.
I don't know why the oil,
why it oozes from my hands, from my face.
I don't know.
TEXT 9 - [09 :49] [43s]
Myrna travels all over the world and the signs are almost always present.
Very often, during the Divine Liturgy, oil oozes from Myrna's hands...
and she anoints the people with it.
Prayer associations have been established in Egypt, France, Holland,
the United States and Canada.
Volunteers from everywhere commit to live the spirituality of Soufanieh:
that is the unity of their life with the Lord,
in their family and in the Church,
to promote Christian Unity and the unity of the Feast of Easter.
FATHER ELIAS 6 - [10 :32] [53s]
Friends of Soufanieh invite us and finance these missions around
But beforehand, we ask them to get the consent of the local religious authorities of their country.
Otherwise, we do not leave Damascus.
I can assure you that we can leave Damascus without any money
and return back as we left.
All we need is the travel tickets and the passports.
We depart by plane and when we arrive at our destination,
friends welcome us and lodge us in their homes.
And believe me, the quality of these friendships created through the Soufanieh phenomenon is exceptional.
We go there to pray and to give our testimony; that’s all.
TEXT 10 - [11 :25] [13s]
The children often accompany their mother in her missions overseas,
like here, in Montreal…
MYRNA 7 - [11 :38] [62s]
In the summertime,
I dedicate a lot of time to my missions and to the people while I also take care of my children.
But in the winter,
I give my children all my attention because of their studies,
since it would be unreasonable for me to leave the children behind
while I go to pray.
I consider that taking care of my children is a part of my prayer,
and that my children are also part of my mission.
Of course, the family is a small church and marriage is a sacrament.
Maybe my mission is to be at the same time a wife and a mother;
so the unity of the church begins through the unity of the family.
Especially that I am Melkite-Catholic and my husband Greek-Orthodox.
But I don’t oblige the children to pray.
In the evening, we read the Bible and we all pray together;
Myriam, John-Emmanual, Nicolas and myself.
On Sundays, we attend Mass together, and that’s all.
TEXT 11 - [12 :40] [23s]
Several times, the Virgin Mary appeared to Myrna.
All the apparitions took place at night, on the terrace...
The Virgin Mary appeared on a branch from an eucalyptus tree
about fifteen meters away from the house,
and Myrna was the sole person to see Her.
MYRNA 8 - [13 :03] [62s]
I felt a hand pushing me in the back directing me to the terrace,
on the roof of the house.
I went up and knelt, but I don't know why I knelt.
Suddenly, I raised my head and I saw the Virgin Mary.
I could not look at Her, She was surrounded by a bright light.
And I ran away.
I wasn’t able to see Her very well.
The second apparition happened three days later,
Once again I felt a hand pushing me in the back.
I went up, I saw Her, and... She was...
I cannot describe Her very well
because She cannot be described,
She is so beautiful…
She was dressed in white,
with a blue belt, and a blue shawl on the shoulder.
When I saw Her,
She was shining and was surrounded by a lot of light…
and She is very beautiful, very beautiful.
TEXT 12 - [14 :05] [11s]
At first, Father Elias asked Myrna and Nicolas not to say anything about the apparitions...
FATHER ELIAS 7 - [14 :16] [8s]
... because we were already accused of madness,
to speak about the apparitions, we would have been locked up !
TEXT 13 - [14 :24] [6s]
Since 1990, Myrna doesn't see the Virgin Mary anymore...
MYRNA 9 - [14 :30] [10s]
During the last ecstasy, the Virgin Mary told me:
"Do not fear my daughter if I tell you that it is the last time that you are seeing Me until the Feast is unified",
that is when the Feast of Easter amongst Catholics and Orthodox coincide.
We always pray for this intention.
FATHER ELIAS 8 - [14 :40] [6s]
The first ecstasy took place on October 28th, 1983.
There were a total of 33 ecstasies.
GILLES-CLAUDE 2 - [14 :46] [6s]
What is an ecstasy?
FATHER ELIAS 9 - [14 :52] [36s]
You see, while praying, Myrna's face is suddenly covered with oil,
and her hands are also covered with oil suddenly !
We don't know where it comes from.
On May 31st, 1984, the feast of the ascension of Our Lord that year,
oil had oozed from Myrna's eyes and all her face prior to the ecstasy.
Then we carried Myrna to her bedroom,
-because she lost her balance slightly,
whereas Myrna is very natural-,
we placed her on her bed.
and after a short while,
Myrna made the sign of the cross and crossed her arms
and then became absent from our world.
She doesn't hear, doesn’t see nor feel anything…
MYRNA 10 - [15 :28] [4s]
My parents thought I was dead!
FATHER ELIAS 10 - [15 :32] [13s]
And after a while, she makes the sign of the cross,
opens her eyes, looks around her and smiles !!
MYRNA 11 - [14 :45] [91s]
The inner peace that I feel cannot be described accurately.
Because I am afraid not to express myself precisely.
But it is enough for me to say that I feel so much inner peace and love,
that I forget my family,
I mean... when I am in this state,
I forget my children, I forget my husband, I forget everything.
And I wish to remain in this state.
TEXT 14 - [16 :16] [21s]
When Myrna must see Christ, oil also oozes from her eyes...
and it burns them ...
MYRNA 12 - [16 :37] [13s]
I saw Jesus during several ecstasies,
but I don't know how many times exactly.
I saw Him in the Shape of a human being surrounded by light.
And I heard His voice.
TEXT 15 - [16 :50] [37s]
Myrna regains her sight very slowly after seeing Christ,
but in 1984, at the end of an ecstasy...
Myrna painfully realizes her blindness.
She will remain in this state during three days...
FATHER ELIAS 11 - [17 :27] [43s]
Myrna received the stigmata four times.
The first time occurred on November 25th, 1983,
two days before the first anniversary of the Phenomenon of Soufanieh.
That day, the wounds opened around 4:30 pm,
on her side, hands, palms and feet.
At 11 o'clock in the evening, the wounds were all healed.
we had convoked 8 physicians from different medical specialties
to come and to perform various examinations.
The three other times were in 1984, 1987 and 1990,
-the years when Catholics and Orthodox celebrated Easter together-,
which is the essence of the Message of Soufanieh: the unity of the church.
MYRNA 13 - [18 :10] [12s]
Before I receive the stigmata,
I feel an atrocious pain in all my body,
until the wounds open.
TEXT 16 - [18 :22] [28s]
The Catholic Church is always very reserved about the stigmata.
The first known stigmatist was Saint Francis of Assisi, in the 13th century.
Since then, more than 300 people would have received the stigmata,
200 of which were in the 20th century.
Thérèse Neumann, Padre Pio and Marthe Robin are probably the most well known stigmatists of our century.
MYRNA 14 - [18 :50] [10s]
What is wonderful during the stigmata,
is that my body endures a lot of pain but my soul rejoices.
TEXT 17 - [19 :00] [33s]
Stigmatists are a sign of contradiction.
They are venerated by some, discredited by others.
A sort of puzzle for theologians and physicians...
No satisfactory explanation to this day...
When fraud is dismissed,
the question is not really the origin of these wounds
- for the believer, they come from God -
but what they mean and convey to the faithful ...
GILLES-CLAUDE 3 - [19 :33] [6s]
... What is the purpose for a person to receive in his or her flesh,
the stigmata, the wounds of Christ ?
FATHER ELIAS 12 - [19 :39] [26s]
It is quite significant for a person to participate in Christ's passion.
To remind us that Christ suffered,
had His hands, feet, side and head pierced.
And in the Middle-East, in a Moslem country;
that is very significant !
And believe me,
a lot of people have been shaken at the sight of these wounds.
Because the house is often visited by a lot of Muslims.
TEXT 18 - [20 :05] [19s]
Priests and physicians are preoccupied...
And television permits us to see Myrna's stigmatization.
Troublesome images, to say the least.
GILLES-CLAUDE 4 - [20 :24] [6s]
Are we in the midst of a mediatic curiosity?
FATHER ELIAS 13 - [20 :30] [29s]
Several people in Syria said that we were making a show.
As far as we were concerned, we were documenting everything.
Regardless of what people said.
We knew that ecclesiastical and scientific authorities would eventually need to know all the facts.
These facts span several years.
even the most opposing ones will have to study this phenomenon.
MYRNA 15 - [20 :59] [22s]
Sometimes I feel the sufferings even though there are no wounds.
The presence of blood is not important.
The Lord always reminds me of this when I am tired,
disturbed or irritated whether by the ambiance in the house,
the children or the people.
The pains remind me to become stronger,
and that no matter what I endure, I won't endure as much as He did.
GILLES-CLAUDE 5 - [21 :21] [5s]
What meaning do you give to all these phenomena?
Do we really need to hear about them again?
FATHER ELIAS 14 - [21 :26] [24s]
I think that if we didn't need them,
then the Author of this Phenomenon would not have done so.
You see, nowadays, in a world that has put aside God,
spirituality and the life after,
more that ever God creates ways to remind us:
"My children, I am present! "...
GILLES-CLAUDE 6 - [21 :50] [8s]
Do you consider yourself like another Christ?
MYRNA 16 - [21 :58] [172s]
No! I am a Christian, not a Christ.
I thank people for their love...
but I ask from them not to make me endure more that I can.
That is to make me feel that I am Myrna, the normal person.
Because there are a lot of people who come to me,
thinking that I am a saint
and that bothers me and makes me suffer,
because I consider myself quite far from sainthood.
Help me to remain faithful to my mission and not to lose my humility.
That is the most important.
My mission is to sow the seed of love in the heart of the church.
Because without love, unity is not possible.
And to spread the message that unity is,
first of all, unity with oneself,
with others and with God.
The unity of the family is part of my mission.
And I pray for the divided families
so that God reunites them by the ties of unity and peace.
I have a small chapel in my house.
From time to time, I go there to pray silently.
I don't say anything, I meditate on the crucifix and I write my diary.
My prayer is: meditation and writings.
And when I write, I always ask God: « when will You take me? »
This wish is not an escape from my responsibilities.
Sometimes ... when I wish to die,
it looks as if I am escaping from my responsibilities towards
my husband and my children...
In fact, it’s not that at all;
it’s only the total desire of God, nothing else.
And I always wish to die when I am in state of grace,
while oil is oozing from my body or during an ecstasy.
I ask God to take me,
and not to let me die when He is not happy from me.
Pray for me.
END - [24 :50]