A modern miracle

God sometimes brightens up the paths of our lives with stories of faith and love in the most ordinary ways. For Shirley Sangalang, it began one fateful morning when she accidentally sprayed her right ear with perfume.

Shirley Sangalang

She felt a burning pain, wiped her ear with tissue, went to work, and forgot about it. On the fourth day, the pain came back and by the fifth day, it became unbearable. The doctor who examined her ear said she would need surgery. "The way she said it was alarming and I got scared," said Shirley, who never liked going to hospitals.

She called a doctor friend and asked for another ear specialist who could give a second opinion. Her friend recommended Dr. Eric Nubla, an EENT doctor at the Makati Medical Center. Dr. Nubla explained that the perfume caused a recurrent fungal infection and this had completely eaten up her eardrum and tympanic membrane.

"It had reached the point when the fungal infection was really bad," said Dr Nubla. "She was coming here twice a week, in pain. Sometimes she would cry when I cleaned her ear. But I had to be aggressive about it because if I weren't, she could develop an infection that could reach her brain." Shirley said she could not sleep at nights and had to be absent from work for days.

"I could not only feel the pain, I could even hear it. There would be pus each time I cleaned my ear. And I would spend sleepless nights every time I had an infection," she said. By 1992, her ear had worsened because of the fungal infection, and there seemed to be little choice but surgery.

Dr. Nubla prescribed ear drops. He even asked Shirley to clean her ear with water and vinegar but it only got worse. "I could sense that the doctor was getting frustrated because we had applied four to five different kinds of ear drops, but I was not getting well."

In late May 1993, while Dr. Nubla was cleaning Shirley's ear, he casually asked her if she prayed to Blessed Josemaría Escrivá. Shirley said she did, but not for her ear. To which the doctor said, "Why don't you pray for a cure for your ear?" Shirley answered: "I will, if you pray with me."

At that point, Dr Nubla challenged Blessed Escrivá: "If you're really the saint they say you are, heal your daughter's ear." With that, he instructed Shirley to come back in a week.

The cure

But Shirley did not return until after the third week. When she came back, Dr. Nubla was surprised to see her looking well and free from pain. After examining her right ear, he was amazed to find it completely free of disease. He wrote that "the eardrum was fully restored with no trace of total perforation and disease."

In his testimony, Dr. Nubla said, "I felt so humbled and... interior conviction assured me that it was Blessed Escrivá's intercession that obtained Shirley's cure, not just for her benefit but also to win my heart."

Shirley's cure took place in June 1993. More than seven years later, to this day, she has never had an infection in her right ear. She adds that her right ear can even hear better than the other ear.

Excerpt from an article by Ria Yap // Philippine Daily Inquirer (Manila)