On June 28 of that year, she said, she received a visitation from Jesus and St. Therese of Lisieux.
“I am the Little Flower. You have been tried in the fire and not found wanting. Faith cures all things,” the vision of St. Therese said to her.
Wise said she was healed of her stomach wound that night. After another vision months later, her leg healed, and she went to church at the insistence of a vision of St. Therese. She attended Mass for the first time on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, walking without crutches.
According to Wise, Jesus promised that many miraculous cures would take place at her home as well as many conversions. She said Jesus promised that her devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Little Flower would “win many souls.”
She reputedly suffered the visible stigmata for two and a half years and then suffered invisible wounds. She had several visions of Jesus and St. Therese. Her final vision took place June 28, 1948, ten days before her death.
“Tell the people not nearly enough of them are saying the daily Rosary; they must say the Rosary for the conversion of Russia,” the vision of Jesus told her.
Hundreds of people flocked to Wise’s home when she was alive. These visitors included a young Canton, Ohio native named Rita Rizzo. The teen would become Mother Angelica, the founder of EWTN Global Catholic Network.
On Jan. 8, 1943, the 19-year-old girl had been suffering for months from severe stomach pains related to a discolored abdominal lump.
Wise had Rizzo sit in the wooden chair where Jesus purportedly sat during his visitations. Wise spoke with Rizzo’s mother. Wise gave Rizzo prayers to the Little Flower to say in a novena and told her to make some kind of sacrifice and promise to spread devotion to St. Therese if she were cured.
After the novena’s nine days, Rizzo suffered severe pains, then experienced what she believed to be a miraculous healing. According to Mother Angelica biographer Raymond Arroyo, doctors dismissed the claims of a miracle. Arroyo questioned whether the doctors gave a thorough evaluation, though there are no surviving medical records.
Mother Angelica saw the healing as pivotal.
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“When the Lord came in and healed me through the Little Flower, I had a whole different attitude,” she told Arroyo. “I knew there was a God; I knew that God knew me and loved me and was interested in me. I didn’t know that before. All I wanted to do after my healing was give myself to Jesus.”
The young woman would visit Wise’s home more frequently and consult her about her religious vocation.
Decades later, Wise’s house was willed to Mother Angelica and EWTN. It was in the possession of the Eternal Word Television Network from 2001 through 2014, when it was deeded to the Rhoda Wise Shrine.
Sigler, the shrine’s director, welcomed the opening of the investigation into Wise’s life.
“A lot of us have waited for it for a long time. We’re very happy,” she said.
If the diocesan investigation finds sufficient reason, the cause for Wise’s beatification would go to the Vatican for further evaluation.