One day in August 1995, Chad Crombie, who had just graduated
from Dearborn High School the previous spring, came home
and told his parents that he had a lump on the side of his neck.
“I wasn’t feeling bad, so I didn’t think much of it,” said Chad.
But, for his parents, Kathy and Robyn Crombie, what they
hoped was a swollen gland turned out to be their worst nightmare.
“The doctor came out and said it was cancer,” said Kathy, 48.
“Holy smokes, it hit us so hard.” They had found two lumps
and Chad was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The course of treatment decided on was a rigorous 40 rounds
of radiation—20 to the upper body and 20 to the lower body.
“You suddenly find God,” Kathy explained. “I was raised Catholic
and my parents were very good role models. I continued to go
to church and my husband converted when we married, but I
had issues with the Church. I was a marginal Catholic—confession
wasn’t high on my priority list, the rosary was a dumb prayer
and the Church was outdated on the contraception thing.”
So when one of Kathy’s best friends called with a suggestion,
it totally blew her away.
Judy Paga told Kathy she knew of a man in Michigan, Francis,
who had the wounds of Christ in his hands. She urged her to
take Chad to him. “I expect nothing less than a miracle,” she told Kathy.
“I felt so confused,” said Kathy.
After gathering her thoughts, Kathy said, she presented the
information to her family. She asked Chad, who had undergone
his first four radiation treatments, if he wanted to go.
To her surprise he answered, “Oh, sure, Mom.”
“I didn’t even know what a stigmatic was,” Chad confessed.
“I never had any doubts that God is here and still in the
miracle-working business. My practical side said, go, what
do you have to lose?”
Still, Kathy hesitated, “We really need to talk to someone who knows about this.”
Kathy decided to check with her pastor of 25 years, Msgr. Herman Kucyk, at
Divine Child Parish in Dearborn. “He is an incredible priest,” she said.
When Msgr. Kucyk said he had never heard of the man, Kathy remembers asking, “
‘Gee, Father, what should we do?’ I don’t know what I was hoping to hear.”
What she heard was,
“Oh, I’d go! I’d go in a minute. I believe that God gives special
gifts to people. While you’re there, you’ll know if he is real.
And if he is, ask him to come to our church sometime—we have
a lot of sick people who could use his services.”
Msgr. Kucyk told Credo, “At that time, they needed all the prayer they could get.
I thought, if he could help, all the better.”
“He is the reason we went,” said Kathy. “God truly used him that day. If he had
said no, we wouldn’t have gone.”
On Sat., Oct. 21, Kathy and Chad drove from Dearborn to Flint to see Francis
—the man with the wounds of Christ—was visiting his brother Reynold. Chad’s older
brother Derek was playing football for Wayne State that day and his father had injured
his back; neither could make the 10 a.m. appointment.
When they came into the family room there were a few
other people listening to Francis’s explanation of his wounds.
“All of a sudden I see his hands with these huge wounds on
the palms—about the size of a silver dollar,” Kathy remembered
“They are these deep, deep purple-red, scabbed-over wounds.
On the back of his hands were band-aids and you could see
blood under them.”
He explained that every night he suffers the passion of our Lord,
for the sins of the flesh, sometime between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m.
“He told us, that is the time when a great deal of the sins of the
flesh are committed,” said Kathy.
When he began to explain the suffering, “He broke down in a cry like
I have never heard anyone else cry, ever.”
After Francis regained his composure, Reynold told those
gathered that his brother would pray with them in a separate room if they wished.
“A man went in first and I was kind of relieved,” said Kathy.
“I didn’t know what to make of it all.”
Chad volunteered to go next and was in there for quite some time.
“We prayed and he puts his hands on my head,” Chad recounted.
“I got a chill that felt more electric than cold. It shot straight through
and I felt completely relaxed. Afterwards we talked for a few minutes.”
When he came out, Kathy went in. Francis told her that she didn’t
need to pray out loud because God would hear her prayer.
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“I totally felt I was in God’s hands,” said Kathy. “I remember
crying like a baby. I couldn’t stop. It was a feeling I will never forget.
I had never experienced anything like that in my life.”
Kathy said that when she and Chad got into the car she was still
crying. She reached into her pocket to grab a tissue Francis had
given her in the house.
“I went to wipe my eye and I caught a whiff of something perfumy,”
she said. “I don’t wear perfume because I’m allergic to it.” She
checked the tissue and there was no lotion on it. “Then I smelled
my hands and it was on my hands and Chad’s hands too. It was
very flowery—like roses. At that time, I didn’t know about roses
being a sign of Mary.”
“It smelled like a whole flower shop,” Chad added, “it was so strong.”
The mother and son didn’t have much time to ponder the scent
(which continued into the next day) because of what happened next.
“We were about five minutes down the road,” recalled Chad, who
added that he was in the habit of frequently feeling his neck. “I had
checked the lump that morning and it was huge, even larger than it
had been before. About the time we first smelled the roses my
hand automatically went across my neck.
“I felt again and it began to register that the lump was not there.
said, ‘Mom, it’s gone,’ and she said, ‘What’s gone?’ I said, ‘The
lump is gone’.”
As soon as the Crombies arrived home, Kathy and Robyn checked
Chad for any sign of the tumor. “The lump was definitely gone,” said Kathy.
“All my doctors felt that this was really something,” said Chad.
They were amazed.
The family decided to continue on with Chad’s radiation treatments. Although they
believe he was physically healed after his visit with Francis, they didn’t want to
misinterpret that perhaps this was just a sign that things would be OK. Five years later,
Chad has no signs of Hodgkin’s.
As miraculous as Chad’s healing was to the Crombies, Kathy was
shocked by her own personal healing. “God physically healed Chad,
but He gave me a spiritual conversion I didn’t even know
I needed,” she said.
Once a marginal Catholic, Kathy is now a daily Communicant
and also prays the rosary every day.
“I shortchanged all of my family because of my skepticism,”
Kathy confessed. “I wasn’t solid in my faith and I was so verbal
about it. People who see me now say, ‘Boy, have you changed’.
” And the changes weren’t limited just to Kathy.
“I watched my husband grow in his faith. I watched my boys grow
in their faith so incredibly. I see in them such strong Catholics.”
Chad is very aware of the impact all this has had on his spiritual life.
“I have always been strong in my belief, but it is completely
cemented now,” he said.
For the Crombie family, the greatest miracle has definitely been
their conversion of faith.
“God has done this for others to witness,” said Kathy. “And
this is for everyone.”
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