There is an extraordinary event that takes place every year in Italy. Many devoted Catholics travel to the Doumo (cathedral) of Naples to witness the “miracle of the blood” – the liquefaction of what is believed to be a sample of the blood of St. Januarius kept in a sealed glass ampule.
St. Januarius, or San Gennaro, was martyred during the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Diocletian around 305 CE. A former Bishop of Naples, he is believed to have died while visiting Christians imprisoned in Rome.
Three times every year in September, the faithful gather on the streets of Naples in their thousands and make their way to the city’s cathedral to pray for a miracle; that the the 5th century martyr’s blood would liquefy right before their eyes. It is believed that after his death, Bishop Januarius’ blood was preserved and, over centuries, it solidified into solid, stone-like particles. According to eye witness accounts since the 14th century, the particles change into liquefied blood on special holy days and it is considered to be a sign of blessing and protection for the faithful.
As part of a documentary on miracles that he was producing for the BBC, British journalist Mark Dowd attended a recent celebration of the feast of Saint Januarius in Naples where the miracle reportedly reoccurred.
If you think that belief in miracles is a Catholic preserve, think again. A recent report commissioned by the television production company CTVC and the religious think-tank Theos in the UK revealed that among 21st century Britons, one in six people are convinced that they or someone they know personally has experienced a miracle.
A new survey by the US market research firm, Harris Poll found that 72 percent of Americans believe in miracles. Other studies have shown that over the past two decades the number of Americans who believe in religious miracles increased – despite the fact that more people appear to be turning their backs on organized religion.
Against this backdrop author, Eliot Hartford Bailey sets out to tackle what many describe as the supernatural, in his new mystery-thriller novel, Chasing a Miracle. He makes sure to distinguish miracles from hocus-pocus or even serendipity. The book is the first in a trilogy of the same name.
In Chasing A Miracle Chief Investigator and protagonist Dr. Adam Bell knows all too well the difference between miracles and sleight–of-hand, often dubbed as magic. After all, ‘miracles’ are his business; he is charged with investigating them at the Bureau of Scientific Skepticism (B.O.S.S). Under the Bureau’s secret agenda, his job is to prove that incidents deemed to be miracles can be explained scientifically and objectively. However, in the process he discovers that science is only able to rationalise some of those occurrences and others are indeed unexplainable. His intellectual curiosity pushes him to look more deeply into the nature of miracles.
In a tragic and ironic twist, Dr. Adam Bell’s pregnant wife is infected with a fatal virus and it seems the only thing that can save her is a miracle. In his desperation to save his wife and unborn child, Dr. Bell presses on with his scientific investigations, which result in the astounding breakthrough discovery of of an ancient code that potentially holds the clue to miracles. When caught trying to conceal the code, Bell’s boss issues a spine-chilling ultimatum. Bell must follow the universe’s mysterious path of seemingly random opportunities and apply the code to engineer a miracle.
A Saint Lucian national with British roots (his father is from the UK), Eliot Bailey is the co-owner and managing director of LucianStyle, one of Saint Lucia’s leading tour companies. He has crossed paths with many celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey whom he met during her visit to the island some years ago. She offered him some words of wisdom. Bailey said she was quite an inspiration to him.
Bailey has had his own brush with the unexplainable. During the writing of his book, a woman whom he had never met before visited his office and had surprising knowledge of his name and face and she claimed to have been sent to him by the Holy Ghost with a message from God himself. This happened in the presence of his staff. To this day he has no idea who she is or where she came from.
“An unfathomable experience, surely not one to be taken lightly,” says Bailey. ”It was one which only further fuelled my fire in the creation of what I believe you will discover is a stimulating trilogy.”
Chasing a Miracle is available from Amazon and other online bookstores.
Click here to check out Bailey’s website.