(714) 537-2200

THE EUCHARISTIC MIRACLE IN SANTARÉM: A Testament to Faith and Forgiveness

The first miracle involved an unhappy woman from Santarem, who, between 1225 and 1247, believed her husband was unfaithful. Desperate, she turned to sorcery, promising a sorceress a consecrated host in exchange for regaining her husband’s love. After receiving communion but not consuming the host, she took it to the sorceress. On her way, the host began to bleed, a phenomenon noticed by passersby. Fearing divine retribution, she placed the host in a wooden chest at home.

That night, a radiant light emanated from the chest, revealing angels adoring the bleeding host to the couple. Overcome with guilt, they repented and informed the parish priest the next morning. The priest retrieved the host, which continued to bleed for three days. It was then placed in a beeswax reliquary, where it remained until a second miracle occurred in 1340.
During the second miracle, the beeswax reliquary disintegrated when the priest opened the tabernacle door, revealing a glass container holding the host’s blood and beeswax. Since the 18th century, this reliquary has been displayed in the Eucharistic throne on the main altar of the Church of St. Stephen, now known as the Sanctuary of the Holy Miracle.

The miracles continued through the centuries, with the host bleeding repeatedly and images of Jesus appearing in it. Notable witnesses include Saint Francis Xavier, who saw the sanctuary before his missionary journey to India. Despite attempts to preserve the relics, including placing them in a glass reliquary, the miracles persisted.

Every year on the second Sunday of April, the Eucharistic Miracle is taken in procession from the house where it occurred to the Church of the Miracle. This tradition has been upheld since the miracle’s occurrence, with the house now serving as a chapel.

Canonical investigations in 1340 and 1612 affirmed the authenticity of the Eucharistic Miracle, which has only left Santarem once. During the Napoleonic invasion of Portugal in 1810, the Eucharist was taken to the Church of Pacao, Lisbon to protect it from desecration. It was secretly returned to Santarem on December 2, 1811, amidst protests from the people.

The sanctuary was restored by Rev. Antonio Francisco Marques, bishop of Santarem solemnly opening the doors on Dec. 7th, 1996. Pilgrims can request to view the Holy Miracle up close, with the blood having liquefied 750 years after the miracle. The Real Brotherhood of the Sacred Miracle, responsible for safeguarding the relics, continues to exist.

Several popes have granted plenary indulgences to pilgrims visiting the Church, and saints such as Saint Irene, Saint Stephen, Saint Leonor Alfonso, Saint Francis Xavier, and Saint Isabel of Portugal are associated with the miracle, further enhancing its spiritual significance and belief.

If you’re interested in joining us on a Spiritual Journey to Fatima (Portugal), Lourdes (France), Medjugorje (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and Barcelona (Spain) from Nov 3 – Nov 15, 2024 (13-day tour), please contact Simone Nga (714) 537-2200 or [email protected]