Star of the Sea: The Miracle Healing Story of My Stella

Star of the Sea: The Miracle Healing Story of My Stella

Healing Story of Stella Maris

There is nothing more painful for a parent than to see your child suffer so much.  For almost 9 months, my wife and I endured the agony of seeing our 5-year-old baby girl, Stella Maris, in so much pain and trauma. 

We saw the skin of her entire body peel off, like the skin of a snake - filling her bed with so much leftover skin that we needed a bed change daily. She started losing her hair.  We saw her face look like that of a leper - her beautiful, smiling face gone, and in its place, an unsmiling, disfigured face wracked by disease.  We heard all her shouts and screams, while we tried to put lotion in her body or try to give her a bath - any contact with her skin was so painful to her.

Miracle healing story of Stella Maris

We saw the bubbly, outgoing, and friendly Stella disappear - and in its place, a sullen, sad girl who did not even want to get out of her bed and did not want to be seen by anybody. We felt the pain of hearing one of her close friends in school, upon seeing her, exclaiming: “You look like a monster!”

Her physical and emotional suffering was not the worst of it. Stella was directly, frontally assaulted by the devil - we witnessed with our own eyes how Stella was tortured and attacked by the devil, every early morning between 1am to 4am, for so many days on end. 

We always taught Stella to carry her cross, bear her sufferings and offer it to Jesus, for our family and for others.  We never knew if Stella understood this rather advanced spiritual lesson (the redemptive value of suffering). One night, Stella told us: “Mama/Daddy, it’s so hard.” We asked her, “What’s hard, baby?”. She said: “It’s so hard to carry the cross for Jesus.” All this time, Stella took it to heart after all - she was carrying the cross for Jesus.  

God always triumphs in the end, and that is why I am writing this story and sharing it to the world. Stella and our family carried this cross for 9 months.  Now, her Resurrection moment has come! Stella is healed! We triumphed over the evil one!  This is the story of how Our Lady, the Star of the Sea, helped us in this most difficult trial of our family life. This is her story. 

Skin Shedding Like a Snake

skin shedding like a snake

On October 25, 2018, Stella’s skin unexplicably started to shed - like that of a snake. For a parent, it was a truly terrifying sight.   Stella’s skin all over her body was shedding, and because of that she was losing moisture causing her to shiver uncontrollably, even in normal room temperature. 

At first we thought that the shedding of the skin was due to Stella’s eczyma, or skin asthma, which she has had since she was a month old. We’ve been unsuccessful at controlling her flares since then, despite going to 5 different doctors.  As such, Stella has always been using topical steroids to control her skin asthma. Three days before the start of her skin shedding, our doctor had ordered us to stop using steroids, since it seemed to have no effect anymore on her skin. We didn’t realize it yet at that time, but Stella’s condition was much, much worse than skin asthma.  

Stella eventually caught a fever, and was in danger of suffering from dehydration. On October 25, she was admitted to Asian hospital for treatment. 

First Encounter with the Evil One

Stella’s trials were not limited to the physical - on the contrary, the bigger trial was in our extraordinary encounter with the evil one.  On October 25, 2018, the same day that her skin started shedding, Stella woke up in the middle of a nap, and told us that she saw a “flying monster” in one of our rooms in the house. We didn’t give it much thought then, dismissing it as nothing but a bad dream.  That same night, we were advised by our doctor to check her in to the hospital already, because she was running a high fever, and because her skin was shedding all over her body.   


Nightly Crying Sessions in the Hospital

In Asian hospital, Stella would wake up every night in the middle of the night, between 1am to around 3:30 am.  Unexplicably, she would wail and cry uncontrollably for no reason.  During these crying sessions, her eyes are wide open and she would have that look of extreme terror and fear.

The crying sessions would usually last for an hour. During the sessions, she would complain that different parts of her body are painful (her private parts, her feet, her legs). My wife Anna (who was the one who stayed with Stella in the hospital) would bless the hospital room, then would turn on Spotify to play the Chaplet of Divine Mercy song to try to lull her back to sleep.  We noticed that it was the Chaplet of Divine Mercy song that would calm her down and put her back to sleep. 

Crying Sessions at Home

After receiving a new dose of steroids, Stella’s skin improved once again, and she was cleared to go back home. To our surprise, however, the nightly tantrums and crying sessions of Stella would continue every single night, between 12 midnight to 4am.  

On October 31, 2018, I witnessed for the first time Stella’s tantrums, and I knew then that this was no ordinary crying session, but an extraordinary demonic attack. Every time Stella would wake up and have her crying sessions, I would lead our prayers together with Anna. We would pray the rosary together, then I would lead the various deliverance prayers found in the book of Fr. Jocis Syquia, the Chief exorcist of Manila.  After about a week of gruelling sessions every night,  Stella’s tantrums finally stopped. We thought that our spiritual trial then was over. We were gravely mistaken. 

A Rare Skin Disease

Topical Steroid Withdrawal a rare skin disease

On November 2018, we finally figured out with our doctor what was wrong with Stella’s skin. Stella was officially diagnosed with a rare disease called Topical Steriod Withdrawal (TSW) Syndrome, which caused her skin to shed uncontrollably. It is a disease caused by long use of steriods. With continued use, in certain cases, patients’ skin gets “addicted” to steroids; the skin demands higher and higher doses, until eventually the skin doesn’t respond anymore and the steroids do not work at all to control skin asthma. The solution at that stage is to take the patient off steroid use, which then results in the topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) condition. The skin becomes worse than before during the time that the body is adjusting to life without steroids. We found out that TSW has no cure except time.

“Like a Shark Biting Me”

As Stella went through the withdrawal, her skin became very dry, inflamed and peeling, making her prone to infection. To moisten her skin, we had been putting an anti-inflammatory cream called AI all over her body. Stella would cry hysterically because of the pain of the application of AI on her raw skin.  She described it as a burning sensation, like a “shark biting her”. 

This is typical amongst TSW cases, since their skin is raw and they are like burn patients. It would take 2-3 people to pin Stella down, so that we could apply AI on her. Despite seeing her in so much pain, we would stick to the AI regimen, thinking that it would heal her.  Despite the AI application, Stella’s skin would still peel off after a few hours of the lotion’s application, so we just made sure that she would not dehydrate and give her lots of water.   Actually, the AI cream did not really cure her, since as per medical research, TSW has no cure except time, which usually runs in the years.

No Cure Except Time - Lots of It

As we did further research on Stella’s condition, we realized how truly debilitating this disease was.  It takes many, many years for patients to completely heal from this condition, making their lives utterly miserable during the withdrawal stage.  In a Facebook Group that we joined that included TSW sufferers around the world, we learned that the average length of time for healing for TSW was around 2.5 years. There was, however, no guarantee that a patient would completely heal at that time. There are patients who have had to endure TSW for multiple years - 7 to 8 years, even close to a decade! There was completely nothing we could do: there was no cure, and worse, we did not know how long Stella would have to endure her condition. 

Losing All Zest for Life

How can our 5-year-old Stella live a normal life if she had to endure the painful swelling and shedding of her skin all over her body and face for 2,3, 4, 5 years?  If Stella was to go through such a long recovery time, it would mean her losing the very joy of childhood - she won’t be able to swim, go to the park, play under the sun, go to public places without people asking what’s wrong with her face and skin. 

The impact of the disease to Stella was that it totally, completely transformed her personality: from a bubbly, joyous, “kulit” little girl, to a sullen and withdrawn one. Stella lost all zest for life. All she wanted to do the whole day was to sleep and curl up in the bed under the covers. She did not want to go out of the room to play with her toys or her siblings. She refused to eat with us during our family dinners. She refused to get out of bed to do her art/painting sessions, which she used to love to do.  

Like a Leper in School

Like a leper in school

We had to make a hard choice regarding school.  Usually, TSW sufferers completely stayed at home and stopped school because of their disease. In Stella’s case, she was already at the tail-end of the Kindergarten school year. If we did not bring her to school, she would not be able to graduate for Kindergarten, and wouldn’t be able to go to Grade 1.  

We decided to brave it out and bring Stella to school, despite her condition. We had her whole body wrapped up in clothing, to keep her warm and to prevent classmates from seeing her raw, peeling skin.  The problem was her face: there was no way for us to cover her terribly disfigured face.  My wife and I even debated and seriously considered buying her a mask that she can wear for school (we eventually decided not to go with the mask).

It was truly agonizing for us during the first few days of her return to school. We had already planned her return to school together with her Teacher Pepee.  Our plan was to sneak her to school 30 minutes after start of classes - so that we would be able to avoid the stares and uncomfortable conversations with parents, drivers and yayas, who we knew would be so shocked to see Stella’s condition. We didn’t want Stella to feel their stares, and hear that dreaded question: “What happened to your face?!”

I will never forget the first time we brought her back to school after suffering the disease. The plan was for Teacher Pepee to brief her classmates on her condition first before we bring her inside the classroom, so they wouldn’t be shocked.  When we arrived, however, Teacher Pepee was engaged in another room, and so we decided to just bring her inside the classroom to her classmates.

I still remember the shocked expressions of her classmates when they saw her for the first time: “You look like a monster!”, exclaimed one of her best friends.  I heard her calm, but subdued and sad reply: “Yes, I know”. 

But thanks to Teacher Pepee, her classmates overcame their initial shock. Stella sat in front of the class together with her teacher, as well as the school principal.  We couldn’t understand what they were saying, but it seemed that they were explaining Stella’s condition to the class. Stella also spoke to her classmates. Then they all prayed for her. 

We will forever be grateful to Teacher Pepee, who truly loves our Stella. Thanks to her, the remaining days of Stella’s school year went by smoothly.  Gone were the shocked expressions of classmates and deep stares at her face.  It was truly heartwarming to see Stella - disfigured and all - accepted and treated like any other normal child during her class time. 

Losing Faith - and Getting it Back (In Anna’s Words)

My wife, Anna, continues the story, at this point, in her own words...

The application of AI cream to Stella’s raw skin was a big ordeal for me. It really wore me down emotionally seeing Stella so hysterically in pain whenever we applied it to her raw, shedding skin. I could see her spirit being crushed, her entire person seemingly disappearing before us.  The Stella we knew - bubbly, happy, witty, cheerful - was slowly “dying” in front of us, and transforming into a melancholy, hateful 5-year-old.  

My spirit was waning, my Faith was being tested like never before.  In the morning of December 15, 2018, while we were struggling to put AI cream on our hysterical Stella, I remember looking at the Cross and suddenly blurting out, “grabe ka naman”. I was questioning the Lord: how can you have “no mercy” on our poor, innocent, 5-year-old child? How can you allow this to happen to her? My husband heard me, and he scolded me, saying “don’t be like that. Keep the Faith, don’t question the Lord…” Words that went inside one ear and left on the other side, since I was hurting deep inside.

A Powerful Reassurance from the Lord

On December 15, 2018 I sang with our church choir for the Saturday 6pm mass, as well as the 830pm anticipated Simbanggabi mass at 830pm. It was day 1 of the Simbanggabi. It must be noted that the Simbanggabi is a novena unique to the Philippines - it is a novena in honor of Our Lady, as we accompany her in her journey to giving birth to the Savior of the world.

My mind was preoccupied with Stella’s condition.  While we sang the Lamb of God song in the Simbanggabi mass, as I sang the lyrics “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world…”, I distinctly and powerfully felt God telling me this: “I can take away the sin of the world: what more this?” 

I broke down at that moment, crying a torrent of tears and unable to finish the song. It was such a powerful moment, a strong reassurance from the Lord that everything that was happening to us was in His hands, and at any moment, He can choose to heal Stella.  It gave me hope and a much needed adrenaline boost to continue on in our journey with Faith.

A Leap of Faith

(Arthur continues the story at this point)

After attending Mass last January 11, 2019 and hearing the Gospel on the healing of the leper, my wife was inspired by the Gospel to make a supreme act of Faith to the Lord.

I still remember that day clearly. We went to lunch in a Chinese restaurant (since it was our youngest son’s birthday then). During that lunch, we told Stella that we will stop the application of AI cream to her, which she loathed very much. At first, our plan was to stop AI a week before February 2, 2019, Feast of Our Lady of Candelaria. We were supposed to make it as an offering in celebration of that Feast. However, when we told Stella that we planned to stop AI a couple of weeks from then, she said in a very forceful manner: “I want it NOW!”.  

The NOW stuck with us, and we felt at that moment as if the Lord was telling us: why wait?  Don’t delay, do it now!  

And so we decided there and then that we would stop all medication immediately and entrust her condition completely to the Lord. We told Stella and promised her: No more AI! At first she wouldn’t believe us. It took us several days, maybe even more than a week, for us to gain Stella’s trust that indeed we would not anymore be putting AI. 

We also made a promise: we would do fasting every other day, on just bread and water, from Jan 11, to Feb 11, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.  For us who so loved to celebrate and eat out, this was a such a difficult sacrifice to make!

What will happen next?

The decision to drop all medication was incredibly hard for us. Medically, this was a bad idea, since it would make her skin worse, without the creams and other therapies that help reduce the swelling and dryness of the skin.  We knew from experience that if we took out AI, her skin would dry out severely - we didn’t know to what extent, but we braced ourselves for the worst.  Just a couple of hours of no AI, and her skin would peel and would be red, making her not presentable to the public.

At that stage, we believed that it was only Jesus’ healing hands that can heal Stella completely. We felt that we needed to give the Lord room to act and heal Stella - without any medical intervention. 

A Public Call for Prayers

A public call for prayers for Stella

On the same day that we decided to drop all medications and treatments (January 11), we also made our decision to publicly call for prayers -  via Facebook (although at that time the post wasn’t public yet). We shared Stella’s story and asked for prayers. To our pleasant surprise, so many people responded and offered their prayers for us. So many people sent Lourdes water, Our Lady of Guadalupe Tilmas, Padre Pio Oil, St Filomena,  and so many others. We felt the power of community prayer and the support of our friends.

On January 14, 2019, my mom encouraged me to read the “spiritual diary” that she wrote that chronicled her struggles with my sister Ria before, and how Ria was miraculously cured by Lorenzo Ruiz. My mom saw parallelisms with Ria’s case and what we were now experiencing with Stella. 

The case of Ria’s miraculous healing was the case that led to the beatification of the first Filipino saint, Lorenzo Ruiz. Ria was diagnosed with an incurable, degenerative brain disease - doctors said she would either die, or live the rest of her life as a vegetable. My parents, through a series of inspirations, were led to then Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz. They launched a prayer petition campaign - printing thousands of brochures that narrated Ria’s condition, and asking Filipinos to beg for her healing through the intercession of Lorenzo. Ria was miraculously cured - a fact validated by numerous doctors, and well chronicled in the accounts/stories on Lorenzo.   

Her case was chosen by Pope John Paul II himself as the sole, official miracle that led to Lorenzo’s canonization. The “hidden story” of Ria’s miraculous healing, and their journey throughout the years during that period, is documented in mom’s diary. While I was reading the diary, I was inspired by the prayer petition campaign that my parents did for Ria. 

What if the public prayers “didn’t work”?

I was inspired to take the same action for Stella - but this time using the power of Facebook and the internet. In the afternoon of January 14, 2019 I modified my previously-private Facebook post about Stella and included a specific call to action for people to share the post with everyone (we made the post public), and to offer prayers for Stella (3 Hail Mary’s a day until February 11).

Anna and I were actually quite scared in making such a public call for prayers. What if “it didn’t work”? What if Stella wouldn’t get well so soon? What if so many people answered our call for prayers, and Stella would take years and years to recover as do majority of the TSW cases? How would we explain to the public that their prayers “didn’t work”? 

Our decision to drop all medical intervention was a significant test of Faith for us.  After our public call for prayers, Stella actually went from bad, to worse - emotionally, physically and spiritually. Physically, she became so much worse: her face was incredibly disfigured, her whole body was red, swollen, skin shedding. Emotionally, she was sad and gloomy. But worst of all, the extraordinary demonic attacks resumed and intensified.

2 Hours of Struggle

On the day that I made my Facebook post (calling for prayers for Stella) public, I brought Stella to the park, where she had a great time. Then suddenly, when we went home, she itched so bad all over her body, and went into a really foul mood. 

At around 630pm of January 14, 2019, Stella started throwing a severe tantrum.  This was very different from her previous tantrums in October. This time around, she was physically so much stronger during her tantrums.  During this particular “tantrum”, I was all alone at home, since my wife went to the hospital for a checkup for my youngest child, Teo.  

I had a very difficult time holding Stella and praying at the same time, since Stella would thrash her body, and sometimes would even bite me.  She would cry uncontrollably, and her eyes had that fierce look that my previously gentle Stella never had. During this time, from 630 to 8pm, I sang the chaplet, recited prayers out loud, while carrying her and trying to physically restrain her.  At around 7:15pm, she stopped crying and fell asleep while I sat down in our second floor, in front of our statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

After around 10 minutes, she woke up, and again started her tantrums. She would cry, bite, and thrash her body. At around 8pm, my mom (who lived next door as our neighbors) visited us and went up to my room to give me a prayer book, not knowing that Stella was having an “attack”. My mom helped me by holding on to Stella and restraining her, while I used the book of exorcism prayers compiled by the Archdiocese of Manila to recite various deliverance prayers randomly (I didn’t know yet the specific formula/sequence for a deliverance session). 

I noticed that Stella didn’t want to look at the cross or picture of Jesus - whenever my mom put the cross or Jesus’ photo in front of her, she would turn away. While I was saying the prayers, as I said some words specifically calling on the Blessed Virgin’s intervention, I would notice that Stella would react more violently and cry. I kept repeating that specific prayer to the Blessed Mother.  After a while, she finally stopped crying and settled down, after almost 2 hours of struggle.

An Entire Week of Struggle

For an entire week, beginning January 14, 2019, I would have nightly episodes of struggle. Beginning January 11, 2020, Stella and myself actually slept in a separate room already, in one of the kids’ room - we needed a room where we would turn off the aircon while we slept, because the aircon was bad for her skin.

Early in the morning  (around 1 or 2am) of January 15, 2019, Stella woke up again and had another attack, her second one for 2019. The attack started with Stella waking up and furiously scratching various parts of her body, especially her face, while crying hysterically at the same time. I needed to hold down her hands to try and prevent her from hurting herself with her furious scratching, but that only made her more angry and cry much more.  

During these moments,  Anna and I conducted deliverance prayer sessions for Stella. Anna held her down, while I would recite deliverance prayers for her until she eventually stops (usually after more than an hour of hysterical crying while we prayed over her). I noticed that she would cough just prior to her calming down - a sign of deliverance from evil spirits.

Making the “Bad Sign”

On the evening of January 15, 2019, I asked my mother-in-law to take care of Stella and letting Stella sleep in her room downstairs, so that I would be able to grab a bit of sleep.  I thought I would be able to finally get some rest, after all the sleepless nights, but alas, at 4:30am of January 16, Anna’s mom called her, asking for our help. 

Apparently, for more than an hour, she was trying to calm down Stella, but Stella was crying hysterically and uncontrollably. We went down, and started our prayers. We also called my own parents to help. One thing we realized during these face-to-face battles with the devil is the importance of praying as a group - the more people praying together, the more powerful the prayers!

Anna grasped her from the back and hugged her to hold her down. Stella during this particular episode was incredibly strong, fierce and angry. She would bite her own mother repeatedly. During this particular episode, Anna noticed a strange, yet incredible phenomenon.  While I was reciting the deliverance prayers, Anna noticed one of Stella’s hands making the bad sign, pointing it towards me as I was reciting the prayers. Every time I moved, the finger moved, so that it would still be pointing directly at me!  

I kept on reciting the deliverance prayers, and eventually, after more than an hour of struggle, Stella calmed down. Again, we noticed Stella reacted fiercely during the part when I invoked the Blessed Virgin’s intercession. Her deliverance came usually after the part when I recite the prayers asking for the Blessed Mother’s intercession.

“Not My Face!”

In the evening of January 16, 2019, Stella had another attack. This time we decided to bring her to a nearby chapel, where we prayed and did our deliverance prayers.  This time, she reacted severely when we splashed holy water on her face - “not my face!” she kept shouting, inside the chapel. Eventually she calmed down. We had the insight that perhaps, the devil was focused on making Stella severely scratch and hurt specifically her face, since that is what prevents her from going back to her normal life/routine (school, etc). 

Gethsemane Hour: The Final, Major Attack

On the evening of January 17, 2019, I decided to do the “Gethsemane hour” - these are prayers in honor of the Precious Blood of Jesus that are to be prayed non-stop until 3am in the morning. From 11pm Thursday (Jan 17), to 3am January 18 Friday, I decided to hold this prayer vigil, to specifically pray for Stella’s deliverance.  I honestly didn’t know if I could finish praying until 3am because of sleepiness and fatigue!  

At around 2am, just when I finished most of the prayers, and as I was about to start reciting the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, Stella woke up suddenly and started her hysterical tantrum crying. At the same time, Teo woke up and vomited. 
I grabbed Stella, but I noticed that she was incredibly strong this time - the strongest she had ever been during her tantrums. She would cry and wail and thrash her entire body.  Since Anna was preoccupied with Teo, and I had no one to help me, I rushed to my parents who lived in the adjacent house, to ask for their help. I had extreme difficulty just carrying Stella, since she was thrashing her body and she almost fell to the ground.

We started the deliverance session. Prior to this, I studied the Deliverance Prayers book written by Fr. Jocis Syquia, and noted down the proper sequencing of a formal deliverance prayer session. Apparently, there was more or less a formal sequence that I wasn’t previously aware of!

This time around, I knew the formal sequence of a formal deliverance session and followed it properly.  My dad was trying to hold down Stella, but even he had difficulty pinning her down.  Stella was so strong! In fact, because of her thrashing about in the sofa, a vase fell from the sofa table and smashed to the ground. 

While my dad held Stella’s leg down, my mom held her upper body in place, while applying holy water, putting blessed salt on her mouth, giving her holy water to drink, etc., all throughout the deliverance session.

Take note that my Stella was only a 5-year-old, relatively thin little girl at this time. And yet, it took two adults to barely hold her down!

“I love you, Jesus!”

I started reciting the deliverance prayers. One of the methods I used to determine if the demonic attack was over, and the deliverance session was successful in driving out the devil, was to ask Stella to say “I love you, Jesus!”.  When she refuses (as she had done in the past when the attack wasn’t over yet), I would know the attack wasn’t over yet, and I would therefore keep praying. 

This time, when I asked her to say “I love you, Jesus”, after some time of praying, she said it, so I thought it was already over. My parents were preparing to pack up and go back to sleep. However, when I carried Stella, she was still crying (although not as strong as before).  I felt at that moment that it wasn’t over yet, so we resumed our deliverance session.

Stella then started wailing, and in a pleading voice that almost broke me down, said: “Daddy! Stop! Please stop!”.  But I kept going on and praying.  When that pleading did not work, while crying, she started wailing and pleading, “I want Mama!”. So I asked my sister to call Anna. 

When Anna came, she carried Stella and held her while I prayed the deliverance prayers. As with before, I noticed Stella reacting to prayers specifically directed to the Blessed Mother. I then distinctly heard Stella cough, and after some more moments, she calmed down already, signalling the end of the deliverance session.

A Gospel Fit for the Occasion

Stella Progressively Getting Better

Stella’s physical condition finally started to turn around, and her skin became progressively better. 

February 11, 2019 was a most beautiful day for us. On that special day, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Stella finally went back to school. It was exactly one month after our leap of Faith: after we decided to drop all medications.

We had kept her out of school for a while, because of her condition. Although the disease still ravaged her face, she was nonetheless in very good spirits.  

On February 12, 2019, Stella had another demonic attack/episode. Prior to that demonic attack, we had enjoyed several weeks of no attacks, so that particular attack came as a bit of surprise for us. Stella had a huge fit in the morning. She did not want to dress up for her school, refusing to go out. We had this feeling that perhaps, the devil didn’t want her to return to a normal life. During the deliverance session, Stella would emit a deep, grumbling sound. The battle wasn’t over yet, apparently. We noticed that she would fall asleep in the middle of the deliverance session - a trick, apparently, because when we woke her up, the fit/tantrum wasn’t over yet. 

We decided to bring Stella again back to Fr. Aga, our exorcist priest-friend who also helped us with the deliverance of my son (yes, we did have a similar demonic experience with our son). The day of our exorcism session with Father Aga was February 14, Valentines Day. I distinctly remember the Gospel reading of that day, taken from Mark 7:24-30. it was about the healing and deliverance of a little girl who was the daughter:

At once a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him [Jesus] and came and fell at his feet. Now this woman was a gentile, by birth a Syro-Phoenician, and she begged him to drive the devil out of her daughter. And he said to her, 'The children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to little dogs.'
But she spoke up, 'Ah yes, sir,' she replied, 'but little dogs under the table eat the scraps from the children.' And he said to her, 'For saying this you may go home happy; the devil has gone out of your daughter.' So she went off home and found the child lying on the bed and the devil gone.

After Mass, one of the religious sisters approached Anna, and gave her a hand-written note with a prayer card of Padre Pio, that included a third-class Relic. She said that the sisters were all praying for Stella. Truly, there are no coincidences with the Lord! It was like a direct message from Heaven, re-assuring us that on the same day of this Gospel reading, our own Stella will be delivered as well from the devil. It was the Lord re-assuring us: people like the sisters were praying for Stella - He heard their prayers, and she will be delivered and healed!
The deliverance session was a powerful experience, just like the first time we encountered it with our son. Truly, what an immense gift we are given with our priests, who have the power of Jesus Himself in driving out demons! Our Stella was finally free of the influence of the devil. 

After the exorcism session, Stella has never had a demonic attack ever again - up to this very day. 

“I’m Cured!”

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

On June 7, 2019, which was a First Friday (in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), we decided to check in to EDSA Shangrila Hotel for a family staycation. To our surprise, Stella decided to do a “bubble bath” in the bathtub - for the first time! She was joyous and so happy, and she did seem to feel any pain anymore with her skin.  Prior to this, even just a small drop of water that touches her skin would cause her to cry out in pain, so you can imagine our happiness at seeing her taking a bubble bath normally, without any pain!

On June 28, 2019, Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we found Stella in front of the mirror. She was examining her face, looking at herself. And she said in a bright, happy voice: “I’m cured!” 

“What do you mean, Stella?” We asked her, probing. Stella answered, “No more red on my skin. I am cured!”

Truly, there are no coincidences with the Lord. This was the loving Sacred Heart of Jesus, reminding us that it was His Healing Hand that has allowed Stella to receive the gift of spiritual and physical healing, after so much suffering.

The Doctor Confirms: Stella is Healed!

Stella is healed!

On September 26, 2020, almost 2 years after our ordeal with Stella started, we decided to pay our dermatologist a visit, to show Stella to her. Stella’s skin was a bit dry, so we became a little worried that it was her TSW starting up all over again. All these months, we still had a bit of lingering doubts and questions: Was Stella truly healed? We could see it physically with her, of course: her skin no longer shed, her skin wasn’t red and swollen anymore. But still there was still that question: was she really healed of TSW?

The visit to the dermatologist confirmed it.  She told us, after inspecting Stella, that she was already officially healed from her TSW!  Yes her skin was a bit dry, and she still suffered from little flare ups of her original eczema, but all these were quite manageable. All we needed to do was to put lotion, which she did not resist anymore. The important thing is that for the first time, we were informed by our doctor that medically, Stella was officially healed and cleared of TSW. She was healed!

Stella Maris: The Powerful Help of Our Lady

People have asked us: Why do these demonic events happen so frequently to your family? 

It’s a valid question, since after all, we don’t practice the occult. We don’t live in grievous sin. We don’t go to “faith healers”, and do all those other superstitious and occult practices which, according to Fr. Aga our exorcist priest-friend, are the cause of most of the demonic infestations and attacks that he has had to work on.

So why do these things happen to us? I don’t really know the full answer to that. All I know is that from my point of view, these extraordinary experiences were extraordinary tests of faith that Our Lord has subjected us to. We don’t resent these trials of faith - in fact, we are grateful for them, because these tests have transformed our lives so much for the better. These trials were meant to purify us, test us, and strengthen our faith. God always tested His faithful ones: Abraham was tested when the Lord asked Him to sacrifice his own son; Job was tested severely by the Lord; Jesus allowed Himself to be tested by the devil in the desert.

In these trials, there are always two options: to lose Faith in the Lord, or to keep the Faith.  We have chosen to keep the Faith, and we were given the grace of our prayers answered.  The Lord always wins in the end, after all.  To Him be the Glory and Praise! 

May this story inspire all of you, who have read up to this point, to always keep the Faith amid the greatest trials in life. Run to the Blessed Mother for help. I can assure you, She will never let you down! Our Lady, the Star of the Sea, will always guide us and lead us to her Son, Jesus, during the most stormy nights of our lives. Ave Maria!