Tuesday, June 18, 2013


In the Cathedral of St. Quintinus in Hasselt is exposed the relic of the Eucharistic miracle that took place in Herkenrode in 1317. During the course of the centuries, many tests were done to ascertain the miraculous preservation of the consecrated Host from which Blood flowed. We recall the test done in the 18th century by the Apostolic Nuncio Carafa and the Bishop of Liège or the one done by the Archbishop of Malines during a visit of the Archduchess Isabel. In the cathedral we also find numerous paintings depicting the miracle, done by a pupil of Jordaens, Jan van Boeckhorst.

On July 25, 1317, the pastor of the church in Viversel was called to the bedside of one his parishioners who was seriously ill, to receive the holy sacraments. Upon his arrival at the house of the sick person, he rested his handbag containing the consecrated Host on a table at the entrance and went to hear the confession of the sick person. One of the family members, curious about the handbag, opened it without being noticed. From it he pulled out the pyx, opened the cover and put his hand into it. As soon as he realized that inside there was a Host, he put everything back in order. In the meantime, the priest came out from the room of the sick person to take out the Host with which to give him Communion. He took the handbag with the pyx inside, and when he opened it he saw that the Host he himself had consecrated during Mass was stained with Blood and was in some way stuck to the linen that covered the bottom of the container. Troubled and panic-stricken with the excuse that he had forgotten something, he rushed out of the house and went to the pastor of nearby Lumen to tell him what had happened. The latter advised him to bring the Particle to the Abbey of Herkenrode. It was August 1, 1317.

The priest left, taking the pyx with him. Along the road, extraordinary things happened. As soon as he arrived at the Benedictine monastery, he showed everybody the Host stained with Blood. Then, the face of Christ crowned with thorns appeared on the Host. This was attested to by numerous witnesses. In the Cathedral of Hasselt there is a painting in which there is depicted a flock kneeling as the priest, carrying the sacred relic, passes by. In this place, called Sacramentsberg, a chapel was built as a perpetual memorial. From that time on, “the Blessed Sacrament of the Miracle,” which had been placed in a reliquary and exposed to public veneration, more than once protected the monastery of Herkenrode from fire. The reliquary of the miracle was kept at the Abbey until 1796, and in 1804, it was transferred to the Church of St. Quintinus in Hasselt.

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