A most toxic plague broke out in Lisbon in 1432. Many people ran out of the city into the far reaches of the country, in the hope of out-running the contagious disease, but they only served to transmit the lethal bacteria to every part of Portugal. Thousands upon thousands of men, women and children were infected. So deadly was the epidemic that people were stricken and fell down dead in public. A common sight was dead bodies littering the streets, the churches and the marketplaces. Cadavers were left to rot on the pavements, and the dumb beasts fed on their putrescent flesh, only to become so infected that they spread it further.

There was, however, Bishop Andre Dias, who burned with love for the Holy Name. He lived at the monastery of St Dominic, and could see that despite the people's best efforts to curtail the lethal disease, Lisbon was becoming a morgue. Bishop Dias was inspired to venture to where the disease raged the worst and to preach to the people that they were to repeat reverently as a prayer, "Jesus, Jesus". His self-sacrifice was such that in going among the sickest he risked his own life. On his journeys around the city, he exhorted every person and every crowd he encountered to make holy cards with the Name Jesus, "Write It on cards and keep those cards on your persons, place them at night under your pillows, place them on your doors, but above all, constantly invoke with your lips and in your hearts this most powerful Name." The victims of the disease were given a new confidence, and a strength in offering the Holy Name.

The disease had spread from any item of clothing that a diseased person had worn, and as an antidote, the people wore their holy cards on their breasts and in their pockets.  Bishop Dias called them to come to his monastery and there he preached once more the amazing efficacy of the Holy Name, and he blessed water in the Name of Jesus and instructed the people to douse themselves, and to sprinkle it on the sick and dying. The Holy Name was the panacea for the people. Miracles abounded, the sick suddenly recovered, life was restored to the dying, and in only a matter of days the city was delivered from disease. Word spread to the rest of Portugal and the faithful called upon the Holy Name and were healed.


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