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Mrs. Mattingly's Miracle: The Prince, the Widow, and the Cure That Shocked Washington City Hardcover – March 28, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Nancy Schultz has written a fascinating narrative highlighting the historical, religious and social dimensions of miraculous cures of Ann Mattingly. This is a first-rate original work of sound scholarship.”—Christopher Kauffman, Catholic University of America
(Christopher Kauffman)

"Schultz's work to track down information about the key figures, previous events and subsequent experience is remarkable. She tells the full story, with 'thick description' of the 'Capital Miracles'.”—David O'Brien, Holy Cross
(David O'Brien)

“Mrs. Mattingly's Miracle uses terrific archival work and shrewd analysis to firmly anchor a remarkable episode in American religious history in a transatlantic context.”— John T. McGreevy, University of Notre Dame
(John T. McGreevy)

“Nancy Schultz has produced another extraordinary work of historical recovery, bringing vividly to life a cast of characters that could easily populate a major motion picture even as they reveal hitherto neglected aspects of nineteenth-century social, religious, and intellectual history. The provocative questions raised by Mrs. Mattingly's Miracle will linger, satisfyingly, with readers long after they've reached its unusual conclusion.”—Megan Marshall, author of The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism, winner of the Francis Parkman Prize
(Megan Marshall)

“An entertaining and meticulously-researched study of one of the first accounts of miraculous healing in the young United States. Schultz illuminates every possible angle of the Mattingly story, thereby enriching American and Catholic history immeasurably.”— Paula Kane, University of Pittsburgh
(Paula Kane)

"At a time when academic historians seem to be committed to prose that is deadly dull, Nancy Lusignan Schultz, a professor of English, lets the story emerge as a good yarn, not a big yawn. . . . [she] brings an impressive depth of scholarship to this odd, forgotten chapter of America’s early social history. . . . The result is a gripping slice of history with fresh, often unsettling resonances for the modern reader."—Daniel Stashower, The Washington Post
(Daniel Stashower The Washington Post)

“Nancy Lusignan Schultz . . . has resurrected important aspects of Catholic life in the history of the United States for a new generation.”—Our Sunday Visitor
(Our Sunday Visitor)

Nancy Lusignan Schultz . . . succeeds at infusing Washington’s ragtag days with an aura of supernatural intrigue.”—Washingtonian
(Washingtonian)

“[Schultz] deftly weaves the story within the context of the social and religious issues confronting the early 19th-century American Catholic Church. . . . Mrs. Mattingly's Miracle provides the reader an invaluable insight into early American Catholicism.”—America Magazine
(America Magazine)

“A delightful and vibrant telling of a mysterious historical event that [Schultz] delicately excavates from the sands of time. . . . Schultz is both a captivating storyteller and a meticulous historical researcher.”—C. Christopher Smith, Books and Culture
(C. Christopher Smith Books and Culture)

About the Author

Nancy Lusignan Schultz is professor of English, Salem State University, Salem, MA.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (March 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300118465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300118469
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,915,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By William J. Shepherd on May 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Schultz, a professor at Salem State University in Massachusetts, is a well known writer on antebellum Catholicism, having previously authored Fire and Roses: The Burning of Charlestown Convent, 1834, published in 2000. With Mrs. Mattingly's miracle, she tells the story of a faith healing, via long distance, by a well known German priest, Prince Alexander Hohenlohe, of an American Catholic woman named Ann Carberry Mattingly suffering from life threatening Cancer. Schultz presents a dual biography of the American lay woman and her German clerical healer, two persons who never actually met. She also tells us much about antebellum America with the tensions between Protestants and Catholics and faith and reason. She includes many side stories, such as the Wizard's Clip haunting in frontier Virginia or a notorious witch in southern Maryland, and across the Atlantic with various examples of the faithful, usually women, apparently healed by the touch or prayers of Prince Hohenlohe, who was not otherwise without his detractors.

Above all, this is the story of Ann Carberry Mattingly, a member of St. Patrick's Church and a woman of profound faith. This is also the story of her successful brother Thomas Carberry, who was mayor of Washington while her estranged husband Joseph Mattingly was a perpetual debtor. To make matters even more interesting, her son, like his father before him, became estranged from the family after eloping with a mixed race woman. Perhaps the most amazing, if not unbelievable, aspect of Ann's story is that she had a second miracle in 1831, seven years after her first healing, this time for a severely infected leg and without the intercession of the famous German Priest.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought this was a book "just" about Mrs. Mattingly's miraculous cure, which would have been enough to make an excellent story. I feel as though I've read four books in one, all connected but each distinctly fascinating in its own right. One great surprise that I very much appreciate is the early history of the Catholic Church in America.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature. -- Saint Augustine

That Mrs. Mattingly's Miracle is at once a well-researched and entertaining book is a given. But what I find most fascinating are the deeper questions it raises. Human beings have a biological capacity for spontaneous healing. That is, we don't "kick off" with every cut, cold, or insect bite. The body fights illness and rebuilds cells as part of its normal functioning. We don't pause to think about it, but what if we did? Even at its most mundane, isn't the way a paper cut disappears from a finger without a trace something of a marvel? How does that happen? Medically and scientifically speaking, how much do we really know about it?

Was Ann Mattingly's healing simply a question of degrees? Was there something special about her or the circumstances of her existence that allowed her to tap more deeply into a healing resource available to all of us? What can her story teach us about extending the boundaries of what would be considered ordinary spontaneous healing? What was it exactly that allowed her to fight and rebuild to such an extraordinary degree?

In her masterful work, Professor Schulz explores the possibilities. She gives us details of Ann Mattingly's illness, treatment, family circumstances, and religious life, including her connection with a German faith healer, all the while, placing her into the broader religious, social, and political circumstances of the era. By the end of the book, the reader has all but met Ann Mattingly. And still we wonder--how did she do it? Professor Schultz has not only given us a gripping story, she's given us a lot to think about.
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Format: Paperback
Very good book. It is much harder to explain away sudden and dramatic cures....bed scores instantly healed, skin suddenly intact, ability to move right away. Cancer cures are often explained away as spontaneous remissions, but here so many other symptoms and aliments were completely cured that it cannot be explained away. Much of official Washington witnessed with their own eyes the dramatic and sudden before/after of this healing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am still reading this book - very well researched but at times reads like a thesis for a doctorate degree.
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