"Is it a scientific hoax or has God once again done the glorious impossible?"
Reviewed by Viki Ferrell
Posted January 3, 2019
Three young teenage girls across the globe all find
themselves in the same position. They see a bright light
while walking home at night, have no recollection of a lapse
of time and now find themselves pregnant. They are all named
Maria or Mary, all three are Catholic, and all are virgins.
How can this be?
That's what Pope Celestine IV wants to know too. He is being
pushed by a US Cardinal to declare Beautification and
Canonization on these three young ladies, although they are
not dead which is usually a pre-requisite. He calls his good
friend and Professor of Religion at Harvard University, Cal
Donovan, into action to interview these girls and give an
unbiased opinion regarding the authenticity of their claim
and the virginity question. This is not an easy task.
Cal has to fly to Manilla, Philippines to visit the first
Maria, then on to a remote area outside Lima, Peru to visit
the second. He sends a good friend, Harvard colleague and
Irish native, Cardinal Joe Murphy, to Galway, Ireland to
interview the Mary. Both men verify the girls' stories and
view the doctors' reports verifying that each is indeed a
virgin, yet very much pregnant. These findings only lead to
more questions about whether this is a hoax or if God is
sending a message to the world.
THE TREE MARYS by Glenn Cooper is a dynamic, inspirational
thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat,
turning pages as fast as possible to see where the story
heads next. It is fast-paced and engaging. All the twists
and turns in the storyline definitely thicken the plot and
reveal even more questions than the most important one. Is
this a miracle, or is it science? Cal is a strong,
intelligent and resilient character, supported by a plethora
of other characters that help to move the plot along and
bring even more intrigue. The Marias / Mary are typical
teenage girls in the cultures in which they have grown up.
They too have questions about what has happened to them. You
will not be disappointed in this excellent book about the
changes in the Catholic Church and Catholicism in general.
Do not miss THE THREE MARYS!
Three impossible births. Three incredible miracles.
One deadly secret.
Once again, Harvard Professor of religion and archaeology
Cal Donovan has been summoned by Pope Celestine to
investigate a seemingly impossible miracle. Three Catholic
teenage girls, from different corners of the world, have
fallen pregnant. All three girls are named Mary, and all
three girls have been proven to be virgins. Are they really
all bearing the son of God?
Before Cal has a chance to visit all three girls, one of
Marys disappears â€¦ and then another. As he struggles to
uncover the truth, Cal realises that much more than his own
and othersâ€™ lives are at stake: could this apparent miracle
really cause the collapse of the Catholic faith?
Tugatog Public Cemetery, Manila, Philippines
Tuesdays were clinic days at the cemetery. To an outsider
it might have seemed odd that a mobile health clinic would
choose a municipal burial ground as a base of operation,
but to the slum residents of Malabon City in metro Manila,
Tugatog was something of a safe zone. At least during the
day. At night druggies scaled the walls and hung out among
the concrete graves stacked in the air like condominiums,
shooting up, smoking, snorting, doing deals. But daylight
ushered in tranquility, and the poor and the sick felt
protected and cloistered among the dead and their gentle
The Health In Action mobile van was parked in its usual
spot near the main gate on Dr Lascano Street. The small
staff of humaniÂ¬tarian volunteers â€“ doctors and nurses
dressed in the organizationâ€™s light-blue polo shirts â€“ was
midway through a six-hour clinic when a teenage patient
wearing thick glasses made it to the front of one of the
lines. She was accompanied by her mother who looked so
young she might have passed for a teenager herself. The
girl was given a plastic chair under the vanâ€™s shaded
canopy where she sat listless, a little on the floppy side,
wilted by the heat.
The nurse â€“ a Tsino, a Chinese Filipino â€“ glanced at the
long line of patients leaning and squatting among the
graves. She didnâ€™t have time for niceties.
â€˜Whatâ€™s your name?â€™
The girl was slow to answer.
â€˜Come on, child, do you see how many people are waiting?â€™
â€˜How old are you?â€™
â€˜Whatâ€™s the matter with you?â€™
Maria was slow off the mark again and her mother answered
for her. â€˜Sheâ€™s been sick in her stomach.â€™
â€˜How long?â€™ the nurse asked.
â€˜Two weeks,â€™ her mother said. â€˜Sheâ€™s throwing up all the
â€˜Any fever? Diarrhea?â€™
Maria shook her head. Her hair looked like it hadnâ€™t been
washed for a while. Her t-shirt was dirty.
â€˜What time of day does she vomit?â€™
â€˜Mostly in the morning,â€™ her mother said, â€˜but sometimes
â€˜Are you pregnant?â€™ the nurse asked, looking the girl full
in the face.
â€˜Sheâ€™s not pregnant!â€™ her mother said, offended.
â€˜I asked her,â€™ the nurse said.
The girl answered strangely. â€˜I donâ€™t know.â€™
The nurse got testy. â€˜Look, have you had sex with a boy?â€™
Her mother pounced. â€˜Sheâ€™s only sixteen! Sheâ€™s a good girl.
She goes to the church school. What kind of a question is
â€˜Itâ€™s a question a nurse asks a girl whoâ€™s throwing up in
the mornings. When was your last period?â€™
The girl shrugged.
â€˜When?â€™ her mother asked.
â€˜I donâ€™t pay attention.â€™
The nurse went to a shelf and took down a plastic cup.
â€˜Maria, go inside the van and pee in this cup. Bring it
back to me and wait over there. Next patient!â€™
The nurse blitzed through three more patients before
rememÂ¬bering the cup of urine. She took a plastic testing
stick, the kind that pharmacies sell to people who can
afford them, and dipped it. Seconds later, she called Maria
and her mother over.
â€˜OK, youâ€™re pregnant.â€™
â€˜She canâ€™t be!â€™ her mother said angrily.
â€˜You see the blue stripe. Pregnant. Remember having sex
now, honey?â€™ She didnâ€™t say â€˜honeyâ€™ sweetly.
The girl shook her head and that made the nurse shake hers
â€˜Letâ€™s have one of the doctors see you. Christ almighty,
Iâ€™m never going to make it through the whole line.â€™
Inside the van, behind a privacy curtain, the doctor,
another Tsino, glanced at the nurseâ€™s note and asked Maria
to hop on to the small table. After a minute or two spent
trying to see if the girl understood how one got pregnant,
he gave up and raised the stirrups.
â€˜Whatâ€™re those for?â€™ Maria asked.
â€˜Put on this gown and take off your underpants. You put
your feet in those and you spread your legs. That way I can
examine your reproductive organs.â€™
â€˜I donâ€™t want to.â€™
Her mother told her it was all right. It was what women
The doctor put on gloves and a head lamp. He had to almost
force her legs open wide.
Peering under the gown he grunted a couple of times then
raised his head.
â€˜OK, you can get dressed.â€™
â€˜What? Thatâ€™s it?â€™ her mother asked. â€˜Thatâ€™s not a proper
â€˜Thereâ€™s no point in doing a manual exam or using a
speculum,â€™ he said. â€˜Sheâ€™s a virgin. Her hymen is intact.
Thereâ€™s enough of an opening to let out her menstrual flow
but this is a virginal hymen.â€™
â€˜So sheâ€™s not pregnant?â€™
â€˜She canâ€™t be. It must be a false positive. Weâ€™ve got a
rapid blood test I can do.â€™
â€˜I donâ€™t like needles,â€™ the girl whined.
â€˜Itâ€™s just a pinprick. Donâ€™t worry.â€™
Five minutes later, the doctor parted the curtain and came
back in with the nurse. Both looked puzzled.
â€˜The test was positive,â€™ the doctor said. â€˜Youâ€™re six to
seven weeks pregnant.â€™
Her mother almost jumped out of her chair. â€˜But you saidâ€”â€™
â€˜I know what I said. Iâ€™m afraid this is beyond me. Iâ€™m
going to send her to the Jose Reyes Medical Center to see a
specialist. Thereâ€™s got to be a good explanation.â€™
When mother and daughter left the van clutching the paper
to present to the hospital, the nurse asked the doctor what
he really thought was going on.
He confessed his complete bafflement and laughed nervously.
â€˜Itâ€™s been two thousand years since the last Virgin Mary.
Maybe you and I just saw a goddamn miracle.â€™
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