Fr Jim Cogley
There’s a film released this year called ‘The Miracle Club’. Some of you may well have seen it. It’s about a small group of Dublin women who win a trip to Lourdes back in the 60’s. While it can be very funny at times, there’s also a very serious side to it and its well worth seeing. It was a big thing to get to Lourdes back in those days. The women all go looking for a miracle but the miracle they get is not what they go for, but turns out to be exactly what they need. The youngest brings a child who is unable to speak and she holds herself responsible for the child’s disability since during his pregnancy she had attempted an abortion. The child is like a symbol of so much that needs to be said, but can’t be spoken by all involved. The others are all intertwined by a tragic story that surrounds the death of a fine honorable young man who drowned under suspicious circumstances forty years earlier and whose mother has just passed away.
Typical of Ireland at the time, it’s a story of a young girl becoming pregnant and they have all been trying to keep secret what happened and the tragic consequences that followed because each is involved in a different way. One is the mother who was banished to the US and forced to have an abortion. Another is her former best friend who has hatred towards her for first leaving and then not coming back for 40 years to visit her elderly mother and she being an only child. The deeper reality is that she was the one who betrayed her friend and is full of anger towards everyone. Then there’s an old lady, played by Maggie Smith, a friend of the girl’s mother’s who has just passed away. This lady is riddled with guilt. Now in her twilight years and thinking of death she is wondering what fate awaits her on the other side. She was the one who wielded influence over the girl’s mother and indirectly was responsible for the young man’s death, and the tragic fall out of all those involved who were once such good friends.
The real miracle of the trip is the confessions they eventually make, not to the priest on the trip, but to each other and how their untold story has kept them alienated for 40 years with each blaming the other. The secrecy had been destroying each of them and eating away at their souls. None of them were at peace until they could tell their story. Each needed to take responsibility, and come to terms with what happened and the part they played in it. They each carried a heavy burden of guilt and regret that left their spirits burdened and no one had peace.