One of the more remarkable near-death experiences and recoveries is reported by Catholic author, pilgrim leader, and deliverance expert Stella Davis, president of Christian Women in Action and a resident of Alexandria, Virginia.
It happened at the home of a wealthy person in Chicago, where Stella had gone to minister and where there was such a response that she was held over and praying over folks until late at night — planning to take a plane early the next morning.
“I went upstairs to get my briefcase and my jacket,” she writes. “When I was standing at the top of the stairs preparing to go down (it was a winding stairway with an iron railing), something pushed me. It was a very hard push. It was Satan.
“I went down the stairs, rolling all the way, sixteen steps,” recounts Davis, a veteran missionary who has ministered around the world. “On the way down, I hit my back and my neck. I couldn’t stop. My hands got caught on the iron stair rail and it bent three fingers completely backward, in the opposite direction.
“My whole body was just a mess,” she goes on. “By the time I hit the bottom of the stairs, I had died, because I hit my neck. I had the experience. I saw that we have two bodies: a spiritual body and a physical body. I was laying there upside down on the floor when my spiritual body came out of my flesh and swept upward.
“As I was going up very slowly, the higher I would get, the brighter it was and the greater the intensity of love, joy, peace, tranquility: words can’t even begin to describe. The feeling was one of being lifted up. I was in Chicago but I could see my children and husband [back home]!
“I love my children dearly. I love my husband dearly. But, there was no comparison to the love I was receiving as I was being lifted up. There really is no comparison between the love you have for loved ones here and the love you receive.
“I went right through the clouds. I was just like the astronauts when they are in orbit, weightless. I saw the clouds where I was going up. Then, all of a sudden, I came to a stop. It was like I stopped in an elevator. I did not come face to face with Jesus but I heard His Voice.”
He said: “You must go back.”
Her work on earth, her journey in this place of testing, it seems, was not finished.
Despite her resistance, she went back to her body in an instant — at lightning speed — and saw the people gathered around her crumpled, severely injured body. Those folks thought (correctly, as it turns out) that Stella had died. “Call the rescue squad!” one was crying. “Call the rescue squad!”
“God, God, don’t take her!”
“Don’t let her die in my house!”
Her hands and everything else were like wet noodles. She was in excruciating pain. They carried her to a couch and suddenly it was like she was plugged into an electrical socket. Her whole body began to shake and jerk. To the incredulity of those gathered around her, she tried to stand up. She fell but with help was able to be settled into a chair. When she looked down, Stella says she saw that a large bone in her leg was sticking “straight out.” “George,” she said to a friend named George, “get the holy oil and push that bone in.”
When a friend named George anointed the bone, there was a sensation like a suction, she asserts, for our discernment. And George reportedly felt the bone go back in.
The same happened to her fingers, which had been pulled backward to such an extent that she could have made a fist with them, but in the wrong direction.
He anointed those too with the oil and was able to straighten them out one at a time, bringing them and then her knee cap back in place during this series of seemingly unfathomable events.
To everyone’s astonishment, we are told, Stella was then able to stand; improbably, she asked for her briefcase. They wanted to take her to the hospital — but this woman who seemed to have broken half the bones in her body insisted that she wanted simply to go to bed, and so she did! — catching Mass the next morning before an early flight home.
Stella, whom we had the pleasure of meeting during a retreat in Richmond some years back — a woman renowned for healing — was herself miraculously healed.
It seems preposterous. But with God nothing is impossible. It was the product of prayer. God helps those who help themselves through prayer. Stella is known to spend four to five hours before the Blessed Sacrament before preaching — which she has done in far-flung places from Poland and Italy to Peru and Japan.
Much of her healing involves delivering people from evil spirits and ancestral “curses,” which we’ll investigate next.
But let’s stay on near-death experiences.
Stella also had an experience while visiting a dying man to bring him Communion (she’s a Eucharistic minister). During that visit, she “saw” him at the opening of a tunnel — and the Blessed Mother at the other end. As he neared death, he got closer to Mary — whose hands were reaching out to him, almost touching.
“I gave Communion and said the prayers and went home,” she recounts. “I opened the door to my home and the phone was ringing. He had just died.”
There to take him was the wonderful Mother of God whom we invoke (“now and at the hour of death”) for exactly this purpose.
As for Stella, she’s lost all fear of death. “I can’t wait to get home,” she says wistfully. “There is such tranquility and peace!”