Dafne Gutierrez, a 31-year-old Arizona mother of four who went blind more than a year ago is now praising God for blessing her with a miracle when her sight returned after she received prayer at the St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church in Phoenix.
According to a WNCT report, doctors had told Gutierrez she would never see again. The young mother went blind in her right eye in 2012 and lost vision completely in both eyes in November 2015.
She was diagnosed with benign intracranial hypertension, a condition that causes pressure to mount in the brain for no obvious reason, Dr. Anne Borik, an internist who reviewed Gutierrez's case and medical files for the church, said.
"This is a condition where the pressure in the brain is so high that oftentimes it strangulates the optic nerves," Borik said. "Unfortunately, once the blindness occurs, it's irreversible."
In a report for The Maronite Voice, Borik explained that Gutierrez went blind despite aggressive medical and surgical treatment, including the use of ventriculo-peritoneal shunts as well as lumbo-peritoneal shunts to lower the intracranial pressure in the brain. Nothing worked.
"After trying every medication, I had two surgeries to decrease the pressure in my brain that failed and now there is nothing else to do. They want to put me in a nursing home because they said I can't take care of myself or my children," Gutierrez told the Voice.
Desperate to see the faces of her children again, Gutierrez began praying that God would heal her.
"For me, I was like, 'please God, let me see those faces again. Let me be their mother again.' Because I feel like [my children] were watching me, taking care of me 24-7," she said.
Although she is not a member of the church, in January 2016 Gutierrez visited St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church after hearing that relics of Saint Charbel, a Lebanese monk, would be brought to the church. The relics piqued her interest because she heard that St. Sharbel had cured a boy with blindness.
"I was desperate when I walked into St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church," she told the Voice. "I felt like God never heard me before, but this time was different, just different."
She went to confession and was blessed with the holy oil by Fr. Wissam Akiki, the pastor of St. Joseph Maronite Church. She also prayed over the relics.
"I felt my body different," she told WNCT. Gutierrez returned the following day for Sunday mass, and experienced the same feeling.
When she work up the next morning, she was in pain.
"I was just wiping my eyes, and I'm like, 'They burn! They burn!'" she said.
In just four days after the prayer Gutierrez said her sight had been fully restored.
'This is something we just don't see. A long-standing damaged optic nerve causing blindness does not just all-of-a-sudden look normal in two days with complete restoration of vision," Borik told the Voice. "After a thorough physical exam, extensive literature search and review of all medical records, we have no medical explanation and therefore believe this to be a miraculous healing through the intercession of St. Sharbel."