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The Third Miracle: A Novel Paperback – June 16, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (June 16, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684847426
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684847429
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,699,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Esteemed theologian Father Frank Moore is estranged from the Catholic Church, but when a possible miracle demands investigation, the long arm of the Church drags him back. The parishioners of the Church of Saint Stanislaus in Queens, New York, believe that the tears of blood a statue of the Virgin Mary has cried every October for ten years are connected to the death of Helen Stephenson, who, although not a nun, lived in the convent at the church and performed many good deeds in the community. Frank, who has had to disprove miracles before and hates robbing people of their hopes, wrestles with a crisis of faith while gathering proof of Helen's sainthood. He also finds himself falling in love with Helen's daughter. When hotshots from the Vatican arrive so that Frank can argue his case, the novel takes on the characteristics of a good courtroom thriller. Some readers will find the priest's crisis of faith all too predictable. But this novel is suspenseful from start to finish, and most readers will be swept up in a feeling of hope against hope, longing for miracles to be proven. By the scriptwriter for the film Gangster Apparel; for all popular collections.?Keddy Ann Outlaw, Harris Cty. P.L., Houston
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Debut novel by screenwriter Vetere exploring Catholic dogma, the nature of miracles, and the process by which a saint is canonized. Vetere tells an absorbing tale of a priest who secretly acknowledges that he has lost his faith but who is nonetheless called to investigate whether a woman long resident in a convent in New York was in fact a saint. The story turns on God's grace and its mysterious workings, with little hint of melodrama. Father Frank Moore made a splash when he published The God Within, a study of faith. Then Frank's mentor, Father Falcone, became involved in what seemed to be miraculous events and was himself examined for canonization following his death. Frank, sent to investigate, discovered that Father Falcone had lost his faith and drowned himself. Devastated, his own faith shattered, Frank goes into hiding until the materialistic Cardinal Cahill finds and appoints him to consider the possible canonization of Helen Stephenson. Actually, the Cardinal wants Frank to destroy Stephenson, since she also spoke out for the ordination of female priests. But miracles surround her. For ten years, the statue of the Virgin outside the church of St. Stanislaus in Queens has cried tears of blood every October, the month of Stephenson's death. A cult arises, and, as at Lourdes, the sick arrive to be healed by the tears; some are saved at the brink of death. Frank's job, meanwhile, is to probe every aspect of Stephenson's life and look for flaws that would deny sainthood. One such flaw seems to be that Stephenson, a nurse, abandoned her daughter Roxana in order to enter the convent at St. Stanislaus, and Roxanna has never forgiven her. Frank becomes embroiled erotically with Roxanna, but eventually he must face a Vatican team of cardinals and lay out the case for Stephenson. Fascinating portrait of the church's internal workings--but the characters (and drama) take second place to larger questions of faith and doubt. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
As a faithful Catholic who wonders about the veracity of miracles, this forces one to consider that the true value of the miraculous experince is in the eyes of the beholder. Perhaps it is not whether a miracle is "real" or not, but rather how it affects those who believe it to be true. Some inconsistencies and the end is rather too "neat", but a provocative read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kcorn TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was selected as a Library Journal Best Book of the year and eventually made into a movie starring Ed Harris (who recently starred in the much-acclaimed movie/bio of artist Jackson Pollack). I've read the book and I've seen the movie. The book has its flaws, as many reader reviewers below have noted, but I found it an extremely powerful book. Perhaps this is because my religious background is Judaism and so the Catholic church and the beliefs of its members were fresh and new to me - as they might not be to some readers. Beyond that, however, I found the story of a man's search for faith to be quite moving and believable - and his desire to find out if a true miracle had occurred or not was also compelling. No matter one's religious tradition or beliefs, the desire to find spiritual truths is a universal one and the book is worthy of being put on anyone's reading list. Now, as to the movie - Ed Harris is one of my favorite actors and I found his portrayal of a priest in crisis to be a poignant one. This movie is NOT, however, for those who are easily offended by priests who act in less than ideal ways - and who has some very human failings. Be forewarned. I'd suggest you read the book and then see the movie. The is available on VHS and you can come across pre-viewed copies fairly regularly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "dianedld" on February 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
The first two reviews listed in this section are extremely harsh and, in my opinion, unfounded. It's interesting to note that in one review, a typo exists in the very sentence criticizing the book for typos! The Third Miracle is a novel. It was most likely not intended to be a long essay on the Roman Catholic church. I didn't find the characters cliched, and I thought the author did an excellent job providing background on church interworkings. I was drawn to this book because it appeared to offer a more human picture of priests and the feelings/issues they have to deal with. I was certainly not let down and would recommend this work to anyone who has shares this interest.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on March 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Third Miracle is a fun read - more similar to a mystery than I expected and more than I suspect the author intended. The premise and plot are sound within the scope of a novel telescoping time into a short period of the characters' lives rather than the realistic time that would cross multiple life times.
However, I wish the book had been better editted or researched ... the sequence of the elements of the Mass was incorrect, the liturgical calendar was incorrect, the understanding of consecrated hosts was incorrect ... I don't believe that the intention of the author was to make me laugh at this point.
On the positive side, I enjoyed the realism of the range of motivations and faith of the priests, the recognition that virtue and human weakness exist side by side, the non-confrontive questioning of the origin of evil and the apparent non-responsiveness of God.
If you enjoy a fun read that still makes you think, this is a book for you. If you only read "great literature" that you believe should stick around for a few decades (or centuries), this isn't your taste.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stone Junction on January 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Lately, it is hard not to be inundated with religious imagery and thought in the media. TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL rules the airwaves. Evangelists run for president. The LEFT BEHIND series of fundamentalist Christian apocalyptic adventures continues to publish new installments. Arnold Schwarzenegger battles Satan in END OF DAYS. Sometimes, it can all get a little overpowering.
But reading THE THIRD MIRACLE, at first, gave me cause for hope. Here was a story about the struggles a priest must deal with when it comes to faith. Rather than embrace it blindly, faith becomes a hard commodity to hold onto when you can't find a reason to go on.
But alas, THE THIRD MIRACLE eventually lets the reader down; not in its discussion of the ramifications of faith and disbelief, but in its storytelling capabilities. In a novel full of intensely personal and important themes, the story's execution is too slight to withstand it.
The priest in question is Father Frank Moore, a smart, handsome man who has had a crisis of faith. (Incidentally, are ALL priests smart and handsome? After the movies THE EXORCIST and STIGMATA, the deeply brooding and charismatic priest is becoming WAY too much of a cliche). His crisis is a result of his job, as a postulator for the Church. Frank has the unenviable task of researching alledged 'miracles', and debunking them if possible. In his last assignment, he revealed that his personal mentor had committed suicide, thereby destroying any chance the congregation had of getting him declared a saint. It also destroyed the faith and hopes of the congregation itself.
Now, Frank is alone and unsure. He finds himself unable to care about others, and his new assignment into the possible sainthood of a local woman is not one that he wants.
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