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Novena to 1st member of Opus Dei leads to healing called miraculous

David Rodríguez Nieto seated in a wheelchair next to his wife

David Rodríguez Nieto

David Rodríguez Nieto seated in a wheelchair next to his wife

Benito Rodríguez - published on 05/31/23

David was suffering chronic pain and partial paralysis. Only palliative medicine was available. But a novena changed everything!

The doctor couldn’t believe it. David entered the doctor’s office walking on his own two feet. With him was his wife, Teresa. The doctor didn’t recognize him; he was only convinced it was really his patient because he recognized his wife. He remembered David being in a wheelchair, with the fingers of one hand clenched, afflicted with pain. He couldn’t believe that suddenly, after so long, David was so … healthy!

He examined him, and in amazement said, “You are indeed cured.”

He asked him what he’d done apart from the treatment — which had actually only been targeted to mitigate the pain, not to cure the disease. No cure was medically possible.

David answered, “Since human means were no longer sufficient, we decided to intensify the supernatural ones. We prayed a novena.”

David Rodríguez Nieto and his family
David Rodríguez Nieto with his family

The doctor, perplexed, asked what a novena was. David and Teresa explained it to him: nine days asking for the intercession of a saint or someone believed to be a saint (in this case, Venerable Isidoro Zorzano). The doctor was astonished and updated the patient file and wrote the final prescription: “Keep on praying novenas.”

The disease

David Rodríguez Nieto lives in Vallecas, a low-income neighborhood of Madrid. He and his wife have five children, all of them minors. He was happy at home and at his job as a school teacher. One day, five years ago, while moving a piece of furniture, he hurt himself.

It seemed like something involving a tendon in his right hand, and he needed an operation. It got complicated and affected other nerves. This led to more operations. It got worse. The problem spread. It affected his balance and caused neurological issues. His fingers on that hand stiffened into a claw.

The pain was very intense. He was put on a neurostimulator, which at first seemed to work, but his body rejected it because of some kind of allergy. He lost all sense of touch in the limb, and in the end, he became reliant on a wheelchair. He felt tremendous pain that barely allowed him to sleep. 

But he bore it with commendable fortitude. He tells Aleteia that in those five years, “I prayed to be cured, and other times to learn to live with it. Other times I got angry and asked myself, ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ It depended on the day.” But in all those phases, he never questioned his faith. He knew that, whether he understood it or not, God was behind this situation.

The only thing left to do was to pray for a miracle

In one of his last appointments, the doctor couldn’t offer any good news. “I saw that all the medical sources told me that the only hope was a neurostimulator implantation operation to reduce the pain, but there was no hope of a cure. It’s at that moment when you think, ‘now it’s for real.’”

David Rodríguez Nieto seated in a wheelchair next to his wife
David in his wheelchair, next to his wife

That “now it’s for real” means that now he really had to ask for the miracle with all his faith. He had to pray with the confidence that it could happen, not as if it were a lottery to see if he might win. And it was clear to him whom he should ask, and why.

The novena

David and Teresa were married at St. Albert the Great parish in Vallecas. Venerable Isidoro Zorzano, a classmate of St. Josemaría and the first member of Opus Dei, is buried in that church.

“In my house, we’re very fond of asking Isidoro Zorzano for things. He has done us favors on a daily basis. And we said, ‘Why not?’ Since he’s helped us with little things, let him do something bigger,” says David.

So he decided to circulate a very simple message through social network groups, inviting anyone who wanted to join a novena to Isidoro Zorzano to ask for his healing, because he “wanted to go back to work.”

And the message began to circulate.

First it made its way through his family, which is very large, then also the school, friends, the parish … Soon it began to spread to acquaintances, strangers, etc. David saw how many people were going to pray for him. “I had real hope. It wasn’t like, ‘Let’s see what happens, let’s see if I get lucky.’ So many people were praying that I thought Isidoro was going to have to do something. I was amazed because there were so many people praying that it had gotten out of hand.”

So I thought, “Isidoro is going to have to do something.” He adds, “It was my last resort. If I was going to be cured, I’d be cured. I had the impression that I was going to be.”

He was so convinced that something could happen that, half jokingly, half seriously, during the novena, having dinner with some friends at home, he told them: “Hey, remember that on Sunday we’re going to play paddle tennis.”

The miracle

It was Saturday, the last day of the novena. The disability had continued. David had arranged to meet his friend Carlos to go with him to El Escorial, a town in the mountains of Madrid. They were in Carlos’ car. Then, David began to feel a tingling in his leg. He began to feel his fingers and told his friend, who reminded him that he still had to pray the last prayer of the novena.

They stopped at a gas station. They prayed the prayer with great emotion. David got out of the car on his own. The balance he had lost years ago had returned, as well as his sense of touch. His fingers had unclenched again. The pain was gone. He hugged his friend excitedly and immediately called Teresa to announce the miracle.

Once he was cured, he sent another message to communicate the news and ask for another novena, this one of thanksgiving. This was his message:

Dear family and friends: 

First of all THANK YOU, thank you because these 9 days have been impressive. You’ve accompanied us and you’ve taught us better than anyone what the Communion of Saints is, and above all the power of Prayer… THANK YOU because in these 9 days, we’ve been healing “wounds of the soul,” and we’ve been growing in FAITH… Little by little… FAITH does not come all at once, and must continue growing… In health… We could say that I’m almost healed, and we almost don’t believe it, but that’s how it is…. I’m weak, but without pain and able to walk again… The muscles are a little atrophied after so much… so we can only say THANK YOU… As you’ve demonstrated an incredible FAITH, we dare to ask you for a new novena… This time to say THANK YOU… So we encourage you to continue walking with us for another 9 days… from tomorrow until May 15th… 9 days of THANKSGIVING to ISIDORO… Grateful, we thank you for SO MUCH…

“I am a living miracle”

 “Now I have several months of rehabilitation ahead of me because I have stiff muscles, I have no strength in my hands, and I get tired right away,” David says, knowing that the pain is gone and he will return to work.

That’s regarding the physical side of things, but on the spiritual side he feels overwhelmed. “I don’t want to be the protagonist; the merit is God’s through Isidoro. […] I’m grateful, continually giving thanks, but I’m not the role model here.”

He makes it clear that he wants his story to be known, though:

“I talk about whatever it is, but only as long as it will bring people closer to God. I don’t want to be a showman. But I want to tell the truth so that people believe and we can have more miracles.”

In addition, he’s already taking action so that ‘his miracle’ can be used for the process of beatification of Isidoro Zorzano, who is currently Venerable.

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