During the summer just past, I was rudely awoken one night by a strong stench of burning. The air around my bed seemed heavy and thick with particles of scorched earth. In my sleepiness, I thought that someone had left a pot of earth-encrusted potatoes on the boil too long and that their muddy skins were now burning. But as I tried to move from bed, the smell of earth-on-fire came at me with a violent power that pushed me backwards and I wondered how I could even raise my voice to cry out that something was on fire. Then the ferocity of the stench struck me as not being of a natural origin and I realized that it was a variety of demonic attack and my soul shrieked, "HOLY MICHAEL, PRAY FOR ME".  I reached for my bottle of holy water. The very second that I called on Archangel Michael and filled with air with streams of holy water, the smell vanished absolutely. 

A few days later, I was again in a deep sleep when I felt myself rocked from side to side and I awoke to find a black presence by the bathroom door that appeared as a hulking figure made of black mist. It seemed as though a million pieces of black ash were swarming at me. I was petrified and could hardly think, but again I called on St Michael and when next I blinked the black figure had disappeared. I discerned that I needed to sleep with my relic of St Michael and ever since I have factored it into my night-time routine to tuck the relic of the Prince of Angels under my pillow, the strange night-time phenomenon has stopped.

I hate to admit that these episodes are not  rare in my life. They have escalated beyond all imagining since my book on Padre Pio began to take shape. It has always followed this predictable pattern: I make some progress on my Padre Pio book and there is some unsettling, panic-inducing attack by the demonic.  Earlier in the year, I requested prayer because I needed to re-write the first two chapters of my Pio book, and when the writing started to come up to snuff, that was exactly when the stench and figure of black mist disturbed my sleep. 

At first, my close friends found these day-by-day accounts of demonic attack to be riveting, but now at least one of them finds it discouraging; that someone lowly like me might attempt a work on a wonder-worker saint and come up against so much demonic energy that it discourages the undertaking of such a project. It instructs me, however, as to where my holiness and reliance on the angelic is lacking. It is one thing to be given the sublime gift of a relic of St Michael, it is another to know how to use it in this type of warfare, and I've had to learn through experience. So, during waking hours, I clip the relic to the inside of my clothes and then at night it rests near my head. The relic used be quite far from me, in a linen bag in my spiritual strongbox, but I've learned that I need it on me or by me at all times. 

Were it not for St Michael's protection, I doubt I could get anything of a holy nature written. The relic is a little piece of rock housed in a case lined in red velvet. The rock comes from the limestone cave in Gargano, Italy where St Michael appeared and imbued the stone walls with his angelic spirit. 

T'was most likely around the year 490 when St Michael claimed that cave as his own. Our human history traces it back to a day in the late 400s when a rich man of noble birth by the name of Elvio came to the mouth of the cave looking for a bull who had strayed from his herd of oxen. At the time, the cave was held as a shrine by a group of warring, blood-thirsty pagans and when Elvio found his bull stationed at the threshold of the cave, he was anxious lest the pagans would be angered that their place was barred by a bull. Elvio tried to move the bull back to the slope where his ox were grazing, but the bull remained rooted to the spot. Elvio went into a rage because nothing could move the fat bull, and he attempted to trigger the bull by shooting an arrow at it. Instead of piercing the bull, the arrow came back on the archer. 

Elvio was at a complete loss as to how to move his bull from the prized pagan temple he sought the advice of Bishop Lorenzo Maiorano of Sipontum. Bishop Maiorano suspected something strange, perhaps even foul, and ordered 3 days of prayer and penance. At the close of the 3rd day, St Michael appeared to the bishop and declared, "I am keeper of this place". Confident that this was a holy place, the bishop led his flock in making a procession to pray at the mouth of the cave, but they dared not enter the place where the pagans had worshipped their idols. 

2 years later, the kingdom was under attack by the pagan King Odoacer, and the Catholic army suffered almost total defeat. As was his way, Bishop Maiorano led his people in 3 days of prayer and penance. St Michael appeared again to the saintly bishop  and assured him of supernatural aid if he rallied the Catholic army to fight the pagans. During the clash that followed, a storm broke where hail and sand fell from the sky and this scared the pagans so much that they retreated as fast as they could. 

For a second time, the bishop led a procession to the threshold of the cave to thank Holy Michael, but they stopped short of going in for fear of the pagans. The Pope of the time, however, when he heard of the apparitions of St Michael who had revealed he was "keeper" of the cave, instructed Bishop Maiorano to enter the cave and build a church by it. When Bishop Maiorano went into the cave for the first time with the intention of consecrating it, St Michael appeared to him and told him it was unnecessary to consecrate the cave because it had already been made holy by his angelic presence; Michael's spirit had saturated the walls of rock and thus sanctified every crevice. Furthermore, the bishop found an altar draped in a majestic red cloth with a shining crystal cross on it. Bishop Maiorano had a church built by the cave and it was dedicated to St Michael on September 29, 493. 

In the 13th century, St Francis of Assisi did not consider himself good enough to enter St Michael's cave and instead he held a prayer vigil outside the cave for 30 days and nights.  

In the 20th century, Padre Pio sent the possessed to St Michael's cave so that when they were within the walls of rock blessed by Michael's angelic spirit, the evil spirits occupying their bodies fled and the people were delivered from possession. And were it not for the protection provided me by the rock-relic of St Michael, my writing on Pio would be much less.  Adam Blai, in his master work The Catholic Guide to Miracles has found that the rock-relic can also be a powerful protection against plague and illness, and that while the rock-relic cannot effect an immediate exorcism, it can "act in a similar way to first-class relics of saints that are commonly used in exorcisms." 

Blai also holds forth on how to make the most of St Michael's intercession in our battle against the powers of hell. Blai is an expert in demonic possession and has vast experience in assisting at exorcisms. He has seen firsthand how, "the St Michael Prayer that the laity can say has had great effect during exorcisms". Furthermore, Blai has seen the efficacy of using blessed icons of St Michael in the course of an exorcism, and he reveals to the reader, "We have seen the demons talk to St Michael in the icon many times, even when the icon is held behind the persons where they cannot see it...blessed icons are a window into the spiritual reality that they depict." Demons who are possessing a person's body have routinely told Adam Blai that St Michael is the greatest of all the angels.

I wish you and yours a very Happy Feast of the Archangels!

* * *

This post was informed by Adam Blai's book, The Catholic Guide to Miracles I heartily exhort you to get your own copy of The Catholic Guide to Miracles as soon as possible from the Spirit Daily bookstore

As for how you may get your own blessed icon of St Michael, perhaps start by printing out a classic painting of St Michael - there are a wealth of works in the public domain such as the ones I've used in this post - then invite your priest to bless it. 

The first classic painting of St Michael used in this post was executed by Master of Belmonte circa 1460 to 1490. 

The second classic painting of St Michael used in this post was executed by Juan de Flandes circa 1505 to 1509. 


  1. Hi, How do i get St.Michael's relic stone

    1. If you get in touch with these good people: http://stmichaelthearchangel.info/relic-stone-of-st-michael-the-archangel.shtml

  2. Wow. Read this to my teenagers and they went very quiet, looked over their shoulders.
    We will pray for you and the finishing of your book.
    Very keen to read your book to my family.

    1. Dear John,

      Thank you with all my heart for your prayers.

      I am honored you will read my book to your family.

      My prayers for your and yours.

    2. Apologies for the typo, I meant, you and yours.

      God bless you John

  3. There is a wonderful book of meditations called The Grandeurs of Saint Michael the Archangel ,this book received a special blessing from Padre Pio when he was alive.,there's a reproduction of a text from St Pio .The book was republished in 1948,at the request of Padre Pio. https://www.ourladyofgoodsuccess.com/blogs/news/the-grandeur-of-st-michael

    1. Thank you, Mazara, for your great comment. Amazing, I just ordered my copy of The Grandeurs of St Michael - this rare and precious book from The Spirit Daily Store:


  4. Mary, thank you for sharing your experiences with the devil. I consider myself a "Spiritual Child" of Padre Pio (it's a long story) and have read a lot about him. Your experiences with the devil, every time you try to make progress on your book, only confirm that you are doing the right thing! Don't give up or become discouraged. I think the devil had a special kind of hatred towards Padre Pio, and he doesn't want people to know and love Padre Pio more than they already do.

    1. Dear George, Thank you for your generous and perceptive comment. I'm thrilled you are a Spiritual Child of Padre Pio's!

      This is the piece of advice that has helped me the most, that the attack is a good indication. The attack is worst when I'm bringing something new to the table, that draws on my own research from people who heard Pio with their own ears, such as the reason why Pio rarely refused absolution. The penitent was always granted absolution later, but only after they had rectified something that was stopping then from having a valid confession. Or, the advice Pio gave married women on how to dress as opposed to the advice for women preparing for the convent.

      I pray Our Lord will give me certain graces of consolation which are the most energizing of all graces.

      I pray you will be rewarded for your kindness.

      Yours in Christ, Mary

  5. Hello Mary,
    I have the same St Michael relic.
    Love your blog.
    Can't wait for your book St Padre Pio

    1. Dear Jenny, Lovely to make your acquaintance! Thank you for your generous comment. I hope very much that you will like my book. May you be blessed.

  6. The following is a webpage that I've set up to honor Saint Michael the Archangel, and to spread devotion, to the Saint Michael Prayer: Saintmichaelthearchangelusa.com

    I use DuckDuckGo as my browser, as Google is in the business of selling ads.

    1. Dear Jim,

      Well done, I browsed your webpage and it looks wonderful. God bless your efforts to honor Holy Michael.

  7. James.evans.doody@gmail.com

    Just read a wonderful book on Saint Michael: Heaven's Helper "My Little Star" A woman in daily communication with Heaven helping those in need.

    1. Dear Jim, Thank you so much for letting me and my readers know about this. I will look into this and discern its content. May you be rewarded!


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