History of Urology Forum
Presentation Authors: Naji Touma*, Jacalyn Duffin, Kingston, Canada
Introduction: Health and healing have been part of all the major religious and spiritual traditions in the world. In the Roman Catholic tradition, miracles, especially healing miracles, have formed the basis of recognition of a venerable person’s relation to God. Since the counter-reformation, the Catholic Church has relied on a process that scrutinizes the medical aspect of a healing miracle. It is a process that relies on medical testimony to demonstrate the supernatural nature of a healing miracle. Miracles involving urological disease have constituted the basis for canonization of several saints over the last four centuries. In this work, we seek to determine the nature of urological conditions that have served this process unique to the Catholic Church.
Methods: Between 2001 and 2007, the medical historian and physician, Jacalyn Duffin, conducted several long research trips to the Vatican where these records were examined. At least one miracle, preferably the final one, was examined for every cause since 1588. A total of 1409 miracles pertaining to 229 different canonizations and 145 beatifications from 1588 to 1999 were collated. A conservative estimate suggests that this collection represents a third to half of all the miracles. The saints whose causes were examined spanned the course of one millennium, from 928 to 1922. In this work, we examine the miracles related to urological conditions.
Results: Urological conditions played a role in 34 miracles examined representing 2.6% of all healing miracles for this post congregation canonization process spanning from the late sixteenth century onwards. Prior to the seventeenth century, most urological miracles involved either a cure for renal colic or retention. As technology improved, new diagnoses started appearing in the records of the twentieth century. Male miraculés were the majority of benefactors of urological miracles but were as likely to appeal to male or female saints.
Conclusions: Healing miracles have formed the basis for the canonization process in the Roman Catholic tradition. Urological miracles have played a role in this process with old diseases such as renal colic and retention figuring prominently in the seventeenth century and newer conditions playing a role more recently.
Source of Funding: None