Rome, Italy, Jan 24, 2019 / 00:16 am
Miraculous events have shaped Friar Juan Maria Crisostomo’s life to bring him to the radical poverty and simplicity of his vocation as a Little Friar of Jesus and Mary.
From an inexplicable healing to a near-death experience, Friar Juan has a story to tell. The Poor Friar shares his story as he hitchhikes across the United States and Italy – always pointing toward the presence of Christ in the Eucharist along the way.
The beginning of Friar Juan’s life in the Dominican Republic was marked by a tragic accident. At seven months old, he fell face-first out of his cradle and into a fireplace.
The severe burns left his eyes closed, head swollen, and lungs malfunctioning. The doctors told his mother that it was very likely her son would die.
“After this, my mom took me crying in her arms and she prayed to Mama Mary, ‘Mary, intercede for him through your Son, Jesus Christ.’ She prayed this beautiful and simple prayer with faith,” Friar Juan told CNA.
“After three days from my mother’s prayer, my head returned to normal, my eyes reopened, and my lungs started working,” he said. The doctors called it a miracle, and then started to work on his first facial reconstruction surgery.
In the 30 years that followed, he had 22 more surgeries on his face. However, rather than focusing on this difficulty, the friar said that it is his mission to share the great joy and the peace he has found in the Eucharist and in his “simple life with Christ.”
This was Friar Juan’s message during his two hitchhiking trips across the United States and Italy.