Nyla Leipold’s remarkable, instant healing from Parkinson’s disease . . .
After 12 years of living with a form of Parkinson’s disease, Nyla Leipold had accepted her condition in the sure knowledge that God has not abandoned her.
She walked with a cane – always an attractive one so she could call it an accessory and not a necessity – and worked to maintain her strength, courage and some independence.
So when Nyla and her husband Gordon — members of Legatus’ Genesis Chapter — went to a healing service last year at Christ the King Parish in Ann Arbor, Mich., it was more out of curiosity and with no expectation of any change in her health.
“I wasn’t begging God to heal me,” Nyla said. “I was doing just fine, in my opinion, and getting along fairly well.”
But then Catholic charismatic evangelist Damian Stayne, who conducted the March 16 service, asked people with spine and movement disorders to raise their hands for prayer. Nyla knew he was talking to her.
As Stayne led everyone in prayer and Nyla’s husband, sister, daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren laid their hands on her and prayed, she felt a jolt go through her body. “It was like electricity or lightning, but there was absolutely no pain with it, but it was like there was power with it. And then it was just over, but I knew I had been touched by God.”
Nyla laid down her cane and walked out into a crowded hallway. “I guess you could say I tested my wings. It was like, ‘Gee, I can do this.’”
After she returned to the pew where her family waited, Stayne asked anyone who had been using a walker or cane to come forward. The Leipolds’ daughter, Joyce Yurko, poked her mother in the back and said, “Mom, that’s you.”
When it was Nyla’s turn to tell what had happened to her, she knew there were fellow parishioners in the packed church who had seen her health deteriorate. “It’s very difficult for people to accept miracles, but a number of people told me that when they saw I could walk freely without a cane, they knew it was for real,” she explained.
Indeed, although Nyla was one of about 200 people who reported receiving healings that night, Fr. Ed Fride, pastor of Christ the King, said hers was significant because, as a longtime parishioner, everybody knew her and had watched her become progressively more infirm. “For the parish to literally see her dancing up the aisles was a treat and great delight for everyone.”
Deacon Larry Randolph, Christ the King parish administrator, said others reported being healed of vision, hearing, hand, shoulder and leg problems, along with fibromyalgia and Renaud’s syndrome. Before Nyla received her healing, both she and her husband had participated in similar services by praying for those in need and having others pray for them. But even when his wife said something had happened to her during the prayer, Gordon said he had no particular expectations.
“I’ve prayed with enough people — and been prayed with — that I know sometimes there are physical manifestations that may or may not mean anything,” he said.
He said he didn’t fully appreciate the significance of what had occurred until a few days after the service when he came home from work and Nyla said she had something to show him. “She backed up against the stove and ran the full length of the house and ran back. I think that was when the reality hit me.”
Since her healing, Nyla no longer suffers from difficulty swallowing and the jerking, mild tremors, and spasms that had twisted her body. She can genuflect, go up and down full flights of stairs and walk in the woods at their cabin and on the beach. An artist, she also has been able to hold a brush again and to resume painting.
“It isn’t just physical. It’s the liberating freedom. I’m lost for words to adequately describe the full impact on my life and the life of my family. We can look ahead with just a whole new freedom,” she said.
Because of their previous experience with healing prayer, the Leipolds have always believed that God can and does heal people today. “I think that’s what we’ve lost — that God really is alive and working with his people and touching them and loving them,” Nyla said. “All of that is really tangible and available. I like to take any opportunity I can to let people know that.”
Father Paul Glynn, a Marist priest from Australia and author of The Healing Fire of Christ: Reflections on Modern Miracles (Ignatius Press), said miracles are indeed occurring today.
In his book, he examines 22 miracles, including healings, apparitions and conversions at places like Lourdes, Knock and Fatima. He said he’s noticed in his research that people who don’t believe in prayer often have difficulty accepting miracles. Many are physicians who refuse to cooperate in studying cures of their patients.
Although the Church subjects healings associated with beatifications and canonizations to stringent testing for verification, Fr. Glynn said many other genuine miracles occur, but are never made public.
After her healing, Nyla returned to her neurologist for her regular checkup last year and underwent a series of tests that included walking down the hall, turning and walking back, and walking with one foot in front of the other. Upon completion, she said, her doctor smiled, thanked her and told her that his patients usually don’t get better. He then said she didn’t have to come back. The doctor didn’t return a call asking for comment on Nyla’s case.
Since being healed, Nyla has told her story to several groups, including the Genesis Chapter. But she said she doesn’t want this to be about her. “I want to give glory to God. That’s the only reason I witness at all about this.”
A spiritual benefit to the physical healing, she said, has been that she has grown closer to the Lord and is more willing to trust him.
“I don’t get as anxious and wrought up as I used to over things because I have this new tangible evidence with me every moment that God does care about us, God does love us, God is in charge,” she said. “God does have the power and we don’t.”
JUDY ROBERTS is Legatus magazine’s staff writer.