Touched by Saint Hannibal
Written by Lorenzo P. Locara   
I had long wanted to write my story again. I wrote it right after I got out of the hospital and had it published in a local daily newspaper in Iloilo City in West Central Philippines. The only copy of that article that appeared in my column “Simply Business by Larry Locara” was destroyed during the devastating flood that hit Iloilo City sometime in June 2008. So here I am retelling my story:

I raise chickens in my spare time as a hobby, source of extra income and as lab animals for my experiments in medications. I personally feed them early in the morning and as soon as I get home from work. I have to move fast feeding them so that I won’t be late for work and everything is like clockwork.

So it happened one day in July 2006 that I was moving to catch up on time and as I started to get back to the house, I stepped on a rusty nail that punctured even my thick sandals. I did not feel the pain immediately since I am a diabetic. The wound festered for a few days and one day I went down with a fever. My wife was out of town that day so I was forced to ask for help of my friend Mr. Alvin Chua who immediately sent his employee to get me to the hospital.

At St. Paul’s Hospital, there was a line of patients waiting for their turn to be examined. I was ahead of several others but since I was already high with fever, I did not voice out to insist and instead waited in pain. I tried to call the attention of a nurse several times but was met with rudeness. That was then that I decided to transfer to the Iloilo Doctor’s Hospital almost a kilometer away.

There I was attended to immediately and when asked who my orthopedic and diabetes doctor was, I had to call my friend Dr. Oscarito Diaz who recommended Dr. Henry Tupas and Dr. Octaviano.

Dr. Tupas examined and immediately recommended an operation to remove the infected tissues. He said that the infected part has started to blacken and a lot of tissues had to be excised. In a few hours I was readied and after a set of examinations, I was also given several shots and pills to lower my blood sugar level, a requirement so that the wound after the operation is said to heal fast and that the infections will be checked.

Even before the operation, Dr. Tupas had already warned me of the status of my foot. He said he will do his best but gave no assurances. Dr. Oscarito Diaz was there not only to administer the anesthesia but also to give me moral support as well as take my mind away from the operation as I was conscious but was immobilized only from the waist down. The operation lasted for about 2 hours and all the while as Dr. Diaz and I was talking I was conscious of the concern in the face of Dr. Tupas. It seemed that he must have hacked away most of my flesh between the big and second toes where the infection was. He said later that he took almost everything and exposed the bones if only to get off all the infected parts.

After the operation, I stayed for a while in the recovery room and was later wheeled into my room. Late in the evening before he went home, Dr. Tupas came in to examine and expressed his concern. As I was conscious, he spoke directly to me. My wife was already there when he told me his opinion: he said that if there won’t be any miracle between that time and three days later, he may recommend  amputation of both my big and second toes.

I was shocked because I thought the infection was just minor. He retorted that being diabetic complicates matters for me. It seems that blood cannot circulate effectively to my extremities so the cells do not have a good chance of getting oxygen and food. There was a big chance that the foot will starve of blood and oxygen and sepsis will set in. In all seriousness, he asked if I was a Catholic and that I believed in divine intercession. I said yes and my wife who heard also affirmed.

It was then that he volunteered the information about St. Hannibal Mary Di Francia, the personal intercessor of Dr. Diaz and his family. He told me of the miracle on Dr. Diaz daughter who was a hopeless case yet recovered fully to become a normal, intelligent and beautiful child.

I sent Dr. Diaz a text (SMS) message to ask about St. Hannibal and within an hour he was there to give me a medallion and some novenas. Immediately I went into a prayer and prayed deeply for intercession. My wife also went out and went to the church of Our Lady of Candles in Jaro, Iloilo to also offer prayers for intercession.

I must have slept due to exhaustion, fever and probably deep meditation.  I did not anymore notice that my wife has come back and slept on the couch. Then sometime in the night, between the visits of the nurses to check my condition, I felt I had a dream that there was a bright scorching light that shone on me and that I was subjected to a heat treatment, so hot that I seemed to be seared especially on my left leg down to the foot that was operated on. All the while I was clutching the medallion that had the relic of St. Hannibal on it. When I woke up, I still felt the heat on my foot and I though it was infected to the point of being hot. Since I cannot see the foot by myself, I assumed that it had already turned black.

When Dr. Tupas came in the morning to check, I dreaded what he had to say and agonized in silence as he opened the wound and pricked with an instrument a few times while I almost shouted in pain. Then he smiled as if triumphant. I though: here it comes now! There goes my left toes!

I almost leaped with joy when he said that there was a reversal in the state of my foot. It seemed that all the signs of infection was gone and the flesh had turned pinkish, a sure sign that it is starting to heal and recover. He said that if the flesh continue to recover and even turn healthier, he may postpone a second operation scheduled the next day and by Saturday which is the 5th day I had been in that hospital, he may give me a preliminary approval to leave as soon as I am able.

That Saturday, he again examined the foot and dressed it and said finally that I may leave in 2-3 days time since all signs of infection had been reversed. Even my internist gave me a go signal and she said that even if my sugar level is still high, it can already be managed with self injection at home.

I truly believed that there was a miracle that night. I was on the lowest ebb of my emotions and it was a desperate act of prayer to God to save my foot and I had prayed and begged for the intercession of St. Hannibal as well as the Blessed Mother Mary of the Candles. I believed then and now that it was both of them who interceded to save my feet. Since then, I had offered my way of life for them and had committed to repay in whatever means for the act of saving my foot.

 I am writing this testimony to attest to the intercession of the Saint Hannibal Mary Di Francia. Since that time, I had in every way possible, went out of my way to tell people that there is a Saint to whom they can go for help!

Lorenzo Palabrica Locara
Iloilo Provincial Capitol
Iloilo City, Philipines

Cell Phone: +63929 779 1996
© 2009 St. Hannibal Mary Di Francia
Rogationist Philippines. All rights reserved.