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Observations placeholder

Father Francis Suarez is found levitating three fleet above the floor on a level with the table on which the crucifix stood



Type of Spiritual Experience


Friar Herbert Thurston was a Catholic priest, a member of the Jesuit order and an historian.  He wrote extensively on Catholic mysticism and psychic phenomena and was a member of the Society for Psychical Research.  He was also widely read on this subject.  He is described as ‘an honest skeptic’., and once said ‘the role of Devil’s advocate is a thankless one and does not make for popularity’.

A description of the experience

Friar Herbert Thurston - The Physical Phenomenon of Mysticism

Father Francis Suarez was a man of very holy life, but not of such saintliness as calls for recognition on the altars of the Church. With regard to Father Suarez a paper still exists couched in the following terms:

I, Brother Jerome da Silva, S.J., hereby certify that I have written this document by order of my confessor, Fr. Anthony de Morales, and that the same Father has commanded me to give it to no one, nor to let it be read, but to keep it closed in an envelope with an endorsement absolutely forbidding anyone to open it until after the death of Father Francis Suarez.

The writer then goes on to explain that he has adopted this course because his confessor directed it, and because he himself, being in feeble health, is not likely to live long. The document gives an account of two occasions when the Brother found Father Suarez in ecstasy. It will be sufficient to transcribe the second incident.

Another day at the same hour-it was about two in the afternoon- Don Pedro de Aragon (the Rector of the University of Salamanca) asked me to request Fr. Suarez to be good enough to go with him to the monastery of Santa Cruz. As the Father had bidden me summon him whenever this gentleman called, I went up at once. Across the door of his room I found the stick which the Father usually placed there when he did not wish to be interrupted. Owing, however, to the order I had received I removed the stick and entered.

The outer room was in darkness. I called the Father but he made no answer. As the curtain which shut off his working room was drawn, I saw through the space left between the curtain and the jambs of the door a very great brightness. I pushed aside the curtain and entered the inner apartment. Then I noticed that a blinding light was coming from the crucifix, so intense that it was like the reflexion of the sun from glass windows, and I felt that I could not have remained looking at it without being completely dazzled.

This light streamed from the crucifix upon the face and breast of Father Suarez and in this brightness I saw him in a kneeling position in front of the crucifix, his head uncovered, his hands joined, and his body in the air lifted three fleet above the floor on a level with the table on which the crucifix stood. On seeing this I withdrew, but before quitting the room I stopped bewildered, and as it were beside myself leaning against the doorpost for the space of three Credos. Then I went out, my hair standing on end like the bristles on a brush, and I waited, hardly knowing what I did, beside the doorway of the outer room. A good quarter of an hour later I heard a movement within, and the Father, coming to take the stick away, saw me standing there.

I then told him that the gentleman was waiting. He asked me why I had not let him know. I answered that I had come to the inner room and called him but that he had not replied. When the Father heard that I had entered the inner room, he seized me by the arm, made me come right inside again, and then, clasping his hands and with his eyes full of tears, he implored me to say nothing of what I had seen, at any rate as long as he lived. On my part I asked permission to consult my confessor. To this he readily consented, for my confessor was also his. My confessor advised me to write this account in the form above explained, and I have signed it with my name, because all that it contains is the simple truth. And if it should please God that I die before Father Francis Suarez, those who read this may believe it as if they had seen everything with their own eyes. Otherwise if our Lord should will that Father Suarez die first, I shall be able to confirm the whole on oath so far as may be necessary.

The source of the experience

Other religious person

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items


Activities and commonsteps