The following comes from a January 19 story by Jim Graves in the National Catholic Register.

2011 was a hard year for Marilyn Pinkerton of San Marino, Calif. The 57-year-old’s baby grandson, Nicholas, was diagnosed with nail-patella syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that adversely affects the nails and kneecaps and sometimes other parts of the body.

Prominent among Nicholas’ symptoms was that he had no kneecaps. Therefore, doctors wondered if he would ever be able to walk.

Near Pinkerton’s home was the motherhouse of the Carmelite sisters of Alhambra, a traditional community whose apostolates in the archdiocese of Los Angeles include health care and retreats. The sisters suggested she pray for the boy’s healing to Blessed Margaret of Castello, an Italian virgin born in 1287 who herself suffered from severe disabilities.

Although she was not Catholic, Pinkerton followed the sisters’ suggestion. Every day she attended Mass with the sisters in their beautiful retreat chapel, pleading with God, the Blessed Mother and Blessed Margaret: “Please, help him to grow. Please help him.”

Nicholas was undergoing constant therapy for other NPS-related symptoms (e.g., his arms were bent at the elbows so that his hands were flat against his shoulders). Marilyn was delighted to discover that, “while I kept praying and praying, he got better and better.”

But the most impressive change occurred a year after Marilyn began her devotion to Blessed Margaret. Last March, the doctors were again examining Nicholas, and, for the first time, they discovered he had kneecaps. He is now able to walk and run like other typically developing children his age.

As Pinkerton said, “Nicholas is our miracle baby. He has defied the odds of everything they thought he’d be able to do.”

Nicholas’ grandma is grateful not only to God, but to Blessed Margaret, and she continues her devotion to her: “She had so many handicaps, but through it all had great faith. I pray I can have that great faith, too.

At Easter 2012, Pinkerton, her husband and daughter (Nicholas’ mother) all entered the Catholic Church….

To read the entire story, click here.