Unlike the healing touch practitioners of today who need instruction and the passing on of the ability, the healing touch of the Saints came as a result of their close union with God which harmonized their nature with God's. Their healing gifts were discovered accidentally. Some examples will make this clear.
An event in St. Catherine of Siena's life (1347-1380) revealed her ability to heal.
One day a woman was hurt when her balcony collapsed; she was cut and bruised. Catherine who lived close by went to visit her friend and tried to comfort her by her touch. The pain immediately left the place which Catherine had touched. The woman begged Catherine to touch other placed on her body which where injured and the pain left. The woman told everyone that Catherine had healed her by her touch. (Bert Ghezzi, Mystics & Miracles, Loyola Press, Chicago, 2002, p. 12)
St. Martin de Porres (1579-1639) became an apprentice to a barber-surgeon where he learned to cut hair, draw blood, care for wounds and give medicine. In his healing practice he used natural medicines but eventually realized that sometimes his prayer and touch healed. One day he visited a woman who had a life threatening hemorrhage. As he prayed over over her the Lord revealed to him that she would recover. He assured the woman that she would get well but in order to hide his miraculous power he gave her an apple and told her to eat it. As he had told her, a few days later she was well.
Padre Pio (1887-1968), now Blessed, was a stigmatist and a mystic living in Pietralcina, Italy. Although at times he healed physically, he was primarily a healer of souls. He spent over twelve hours a day hearing confessions. When someone was timid he would spell out the sins for the penitent. He could tell if someone did not make a full confession.
Padre Pio read man's heart. One day a man came to Padre Pio who was a hard hearted criminal who would stop at nothing. This individual wanted to get rid of his wife but in such a way that his crime would be cloaked with a motive of piety. Under the pretext of going to see Padre Pio, he brought his wife with him to San Giovanni Rotondo where he planned to kill her in a most diabolical way. On arriving at the monastery, he went through the Capuchins' church to the sacristy. Padre Pio was there, talking to some people. When Padre Pio saw the man, he left abruptly, went to the man, and began to push him violently towards the door, shouting at the top of his voice: Get out! Get out! Don't you know it is forbidden to stain your hands with blood? Get out! The unfortunate man was dumbfounded and, livid with rage, bolted out of the church, to the astonishment of everyone there. However, the strong words and behavior of Padre Pio made such an impression on him that he could not get a wink of sleep all night. He began to understand the horror of what he was planning and, touched by grace, was a different man in the morning.
St. Teresa Margaret (1747-1770) was a lover who made everyone feel valuable. She showed her kind affection to the nuns at St. Teresa's convent in Florence, Italy which she entered at the age of seventeen.
She was able to heal in little things. For example: Sister Mary Victoria was tormented by a chronic toothache. One day Sr. Teresa noticed that Sr. Victoria was quivering with pain while at meal. Moved with pity Sr. Theresa bent over and kissed her on the cheek. The pain instantly left her which never again returned.
Teresa Margaret died at an early age of 33 but her body was touched by God to reveal her sanctity. At death her body was discolored, her extremities were black, the body stiff and bloated. They had planned to bury her the next day but something amazing happened over a period of hours and days. Her body gained her natural coloration, became flexible and there was no sign of corruption. The archbishop who saw the body declared: Extraordinary! Indeed, it is a miracle to see a body completely flexible after death, the eyes those of a living person, the complexion that of one in the best of health. Why, even the soles of her feet appear so lifelike that she might have been walking about a few minutes ago. She appears to be asleep. There is no odor of decay, but on the contrary a most delightful fragrance. Indeed, it is the odor of sanctity. (stteresamargaret.org /biography)
Her healing touch began to appear from beyond the grave. "One day the convent carpenter took a violet from Teresa Margaret's bier and touched the face of a woman, who was then instantly healed of a disfiguring skin disease. Anther workman too a flower and touched it to his son's arms. The boy was healed of a disease that had crippled him with inflamed joints." (Mystics & Miracles, p. 12) The portrait you see here was painted as she lay uncorrupted before her burial.