Scottish trade unionist in miracle claim

Investigations are under way into a report that a premature baby given no hope of survival has recovered after a relic of Venerable Margaret Sinclair, a Scottish factory worker and trade unionist who died in 1925, was placed in the baby's incubator.

The Scotsman reports that the Church is investigating the miracle claim at a Scottish hospital. When the child, who weighed just 1lb when born, recovered, apparently confounding medical opinion, those hoping to see the nun canonised took it as proof of a miracle.

Secular groups, however, reacted with cynicism to the claims and described them as a "shocking insult" to the dedication of medical staff.

The event, revealed yesterday by the Church in Scotland, will now undergo rigorous examination by Church officials.

If "proven", it would put the nun on route to becoming a saint and boost a campaign to see her beatification and ultimate canonisation in Rome, which has been growing in Scotland in recent years.

Among those to have credited her with working miracles is Sir Jimmy Savile, who claims she saved his life when he was a child after his mother prayed for the nun's help.

The family of the unnamed baby was given permission by medical staff to open the sterile incubator and place the relic next to the infant after they were told there was no hope of survival.

The baby is now four months old and said to be doing well.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the head of the Church in Scotland, was told of the claims of a miracle last week as he prepared to leave for Lourdes to lead his diocesan pilgrimage to the French shrine.

He said: "Pope John Paul II told me when we were discussing the cause of Margaret Sinclair to ask the people to pray for a miracle and this has been happening.

"Although it is exciting news we must tread cautiously - there is a lot of research and investigation to take place by the Church authorities before any miracle claim can be declared genuine.

"It does show, however, that there is a strong growing awareness of Margaret Sinclair and her life not just in Scotland, but throughout Britain and even in America."

The Church investigation will centre around the maternity ward where the baby was born. Doctors and nursing staff will be asked to give detailed medical statements to officials.

Pope Paul VI declared Sinclair, a committed trade unionist, Venerable in February 1978. After her death in 1925 her body was buried in London, but two years later her remains were returned to Edinburgh.

In 2003 they were moved from Mount Vernon cemetery, Edinburgh, to her shrine in St Patrick's Church, Cowgate, Edinburgh, close to where she lived as a girl.

Do miracles happen? Age-old debate reopens (Scotsman 9/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Life of Margaret Sinclair (Boston Catholic Journal)
Photographs of Margaret Sinclair (Boston Catholic Journal)

Scots pray for a miracle for "Patron of the Unemployed" (CathNews 23/9/02)

11 Jul 2006