Testimonials & Favors Granted

Several friends of Charlie Rich told me why they thought Charlie was a holy man, someone the Church might one day decide to canonize. Testimonies about healings need to include information about a doctor's verification and whether or not you are willing to have this information made public for the glory of God. Names, address, phone numbers and dates should be included for our data bank.

~ Additions, as of November 2004 ~
From William J. Scanlon, SJ - a letter written by this Jesuit to the Jesuit Seminary and Mission Bureau about Charlie in November, 1998:

"I want you to meet Charles Ignatius Rich, a man who was very close to God, with an unusual story - like most of us."

"He was a deeply spiritual man..Charlie was never a practical person, and, though a hard working scholar, he often got lost in contemplation. Charlie often got distracted by mystical thoughts and the experience of God's Presence. His conversion and subsequent rejection by family and friends were also the end of any financial security. But the light that filled his
heart (at the time of his conversion) never dimmed. His gift of
contemplation cost him many jobs and places to live. Charlie would gladly have died of starvation on the street, homeless and penniless, if he thought that was God's will."

"But it was not God's will. In his late forties, unexpectedly (some would say miraculously) the Jesuits at Xavier High School invited him to live with them. His sole responsibility would be to pray; and in return, the Jesuits would provide for him board and a small room. And that's what Charlie did for the rest of his life."

"Charlie is a Holy Soul, and his story is the story of his search for God."
In September, 1996 John W. Donohue, S.J., an associate editor of America interviewed Charlie and wrote an article about him entitled "A Life Like Few Others."

The header reads: "Charlie Rich has managed to live in this century without being part of it - or, at least, without marching to its rhythms."

He quoted Charlie as answering a question about aging with these words:"St. Jerome said that old age needs the oil of God's mercy."

The reason for getting up in the morning is "To be with God today. for hours of prayer, for a chance to be with God."

The article ends with these words of Charlie "I wanted to go to heaven 63 years ago, but I'm still waiting. My real life hasn't begun yet."
“Several years ago, I picked up a book, intrigued by the strange title…”The Holy Dybbuk.” I bought the book, loved it, shared it with others, and still go back often to it…I love this: “Be a fool for Christ or just an ordinary idiot.” Pat Darby April 25, 2004
From James M. Somerville who was one of Charlie's spiritual directors many years ago when Jim Somerville was a Jesuit. He was instrumental in finding Charlie a place to live at Xavier:

June 23, 2004

"I found Charlie a delightful person; unusually well informed for a man with only a 4th grade education.People would see him kneeling for hours, often alone, in St. Francis Xavier Church. And he would spend hours in the chapel at Fordham. Charlie was a genuine mystic if there ever was one. A great saint, and his story offers a splendid opportunity for the Church to
canonize a man who was not a cleric or a nun. I know the present Pope is interested in having more lay saints. I can only offer my own judgment that of all the people I ever met Charlie stands alongside and maybe a bit ahead of Dom Bede Griffith, whom I also knew fairly well. Another saint for the future.Let me know if there is anything I can do to support you in your noble effort for Charlie and for the Church.I loved him dearly. What more can you say."

Catherine Craige was one of the later disciples of Charlie. She was a student of Ronda Chervin who introduced her first to Charlie's books and then to Charlie himself. Though she lived far away from NYC and was a mother of young children, she would visit Charlie whenever she could. Catherine claims that now that he is in eternity he speaks to her in her heart very often giving him more of the good advice he did when she met
him in person or when he wrote letters to her. Here are some excerpts from a letter she wrote to me about Charlie on August 12, 2004.

"The Holy Spirit will accomplish this (Charlie's canonization).When I was praying to Charlie about this insurmountable task, I felt Charlie comfort me (as he always does and always did!) with these words: 'God will accomplish this. It is God's work.'.

"He challenged me to love only Christ with a spousal love, since He alone is worthy of all our love." (This challenge spanned a painful divorce.)

"Charlie insisted that the love of spiritual friendship is the love which we shall all have in heaven.the soul is enlarged by love to expand and embrace others with the very love with which we ourselves are loved by God.He loved us as we will love in heaven. I can never thank you enough for introducing me to such a great contemplative saint."

"To love God first is always the most essential. But then to love others in a balanced, detached, but very deep union of souls, seemed to be the recipe for Charlie and his great love for us.He loved us with the same love that Christ gave him and so Charlie was a perfect mirror of Christ's love for us. He is an exquisite rare breed. He saw our souls.Christ sees beyond the bounds of time, as he saw in Simon the rock of the Church he
would become. I believe Charlie saw and loved us with the love of a doting father who is so proud of the child who tries
so hard to become good.He knew us as we would be, perhaps, if we gave up our attachment to human love."

"On Saturday evening, April 17, 2004. Ronda Chervin prayed with me before the Blessed Sacrament with a relic, a piece of his clothing from the last year of his life, of Charlie Rich. Although I do not have any visibly serious medical problems, I have had an eating disorder for many years - (23 to be exact).

As a result, there are several physical problems that cause discomfort but that are not necessarily treatable.One problem is poor circulation in my legs. Although this may not stem directly from the eating disorder, I have extreme fluid retention when I am driving long distances. This can actually be painful, as my legs begin to cramp and my veins become huge but don't seem to work very well. (My mother and sister have had varicose veins, and my sister just had necessary surgery on both legs since blood clots were a problem. While I have not been diagnosed, I believe my problem is the same.) The day after we prayed with the relic, I drove to Houston and back in one day, a total of 11 hours in the car. I not only had no physical discomfort, I actually felt good.

Secondly, my metabolism (very directly related to the eating disorder) is out of order. My body does not know how to handle or process food correctly. It retains almost everything. So far, I am waiting to see what happens, but feel as though my body has returned to a more balanced state."

Irene Lagan

"Before I became a TRAPPIST Charlie used to visit me AT LINCOLN HALL where I was working as a psychiatrist. Once I started to feel light in spirit. I SAID CHARLIE MUST BE ON THE TRAIN, AND HE IS PRAYING FOR ME. SHORTLY LATER, CHARLIE POPPED IN AND SAID HE WAS ASKING THE LORD WHAT HE SHOULD SAY TO ME."

AT SOME POINT I DECIDED THAT I WOULD TAKE WHATEVER CHARLIE SAID TO ME AS COMING FROM CHRIST. HE RECOMMENDED THAT I VISIT THE TRAPPISTS, WHICH I DID. THIS WAS THE SOURCE ,UNDER GOD, OF MY VOCATION TO THE TRAPPISTS. PREVIOUSLY I HAD INTENDED TO BECOME A DOMINICAN." Fr. Raphael Simon

"I used to come on business to NYC from Boston. I would invite Charlie to have dinner with me at the Waldorf Astoria. The waiters grew to have such esteem for him that they would serve him with special solicitude whenever he came. Even though I am one who generally wakes up tired and worried, after seeing Charlie the evening before, I would wake up strangely light and joyful." Alex Kondracki

"I credit the friendship and prayers of Charlie for improvements in our marriage." Joan Kondracki

(Asked if after his death, Charlie ever seemed present to him, this man in whose family home Charlie used to stay often for many years on short visits replied): I feel Charlie's presence all the time." David Manheim
"After my husband's death I was looking for a second husband. Charlie thought I should be a religious instead. When I told him I didn't have the grace, Charlie said, "If you asked for it, you would get it." I did, and eventually took a private promise not to re-marry and now live as a lay contemplative, at a hermit village." Ronda Chervin