Exploring the Miraculous

HUNTINGTON, Indiana, January 25, 2016 – Featured in the December 2015 National Geographic cover story on Marian apparitions, “How the Virgin Mary Became the World’s Most Powerful Woman,” Michael O’Neill is tapped worldwide for his expertise on purported heavenly visions and miracles.  He has appeared on television numerous times on Fox News, the National Geographic Channel and EWTN and hosted the TV special, “Miracle Hunters” (UpTV 2014). He also hosts the weekly Relevant Radio show, “The Miracle Hunter™.”

A Stanford-trained mechanical engineer by profession and devout Catholic, O’Neill took an interest in miracles from a young age, springing from his mother’s devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe – the vision of the Virgin Mary to a middle-aged Aztec-convert to Catholicism, St. Juan Diego, in Mexico in 1531.  Mary’s now-famous image appeared on Juan Diego’s tilma (cloak), which ultimately convinced his bishop of her message and apparition. At the same time, she assured Juan Diego of his dying elderly uncle’s miraculous cure.

Fascinated with the Guadalupan story, O’Neill began researching what might constitute a credible miracle as the Church sees it.  This expanded into his assembling and cataloging all the visions of the Virgin Mary throughout all of Christian history, along with other miracles and supernatural occurrences, onto a comprehensive website (MiracleHunter.com) for referencing their details and messages, and whether Church-approved or not.   

In his flagship book, Exploring the Miraculous (Our Sunday Visitor, 2016), O’Neill has chronicled the types and exploration-approaches to miracles to guide the modern faithful in discerning and assimilating them in earnest.  Exhaustively researched and documented, the book takes readers on an amazing tour of miracles large and small – including many of the most-talked-about apparitions, locutions, holy icons, Eucharistic miracles, incorruptibles and stigmatics – and answers many lingering questions.   O’Neill examines the impact of such miracle claims and looks at how the faithful should approach discernment, the Church’s criteria in deciding on authenticity, as well as trends in miracles.  Thoroughly annotated, the book also includes a helpful glossary and source list.

“I began to look critically at miracles while in college, and it’s become a lifelong interest of mine,” says O’Neill. “For an archaeology class, we had to write a paper on a famous artifact and explain its significance. Much to the curiosity of my secular professor, I choose to write on the miraculous tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In the process of many hours of research, I uncovered a rich history of miracles within the Catholic faith. I had no idea of the number of apparitions having occurred in every corner of the globe (over 2,500) – to people of all walks of life – and found it fascinating that the Catholic Church would risk its credibility to declare any of them worthy of belief.” Thus, O’Neill vowed to learn as much as possible about miracles in an effort to grow closer to God as a Catholic.

Though people can get very swept up and distracted by miraculous phenomena, says O’Neill, it is all due to an authentic thirst for the spiritual, a desire to be connected with God.  “Miracles can be a great avenue for people to draw closer to Christ and learn more about their faith.  With the proper sense of balance, the faithful can realize miracles as a great gift to the Church.”

“Few if any who are writing about religion today do so with the feeling that Michael O’Neill brings to this vastest of topics. His work is grounded in fact but never disregards the spiritual.”— Robert Sullivan, managing editor of LIFE books Miracles

“Provides optimum historical, theological, medical, and scientific evidence wherever possible in defense and articulation of some of Christian history’s best occasions of God’s benevolent interference.” –- Dr. Mark Miravalle, Professor of Theology and Mariology, Franciscan University of Steubenville

“Michael O’Neill opens up for us that safe path of Church-inspired direction!”— Fr. Peter R. Stryker, C.P.M., Rector, Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

“With the heart of a believer and the mind of a skeptic, O’Neill’s Exploring the Miraculous is a smart, comprehensive look at the fascinating world of miracles.” — Rev. Francis J. Hoffman (Fr. Rocky), Executive Director of Relevant Radio

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael O'Neill is an author, speaker, and creator of the website MiracleHunter.com, the web's top resource on Marian apparitions. O'Neill, a graduate of Stanford University and member of the Mariological Society of America, has been interviewed about his research numerous times for features in Catholic media outlets like EWTN and Radio Maria and secular publications like National Geographic and Live Science magazine.  On December 8th, 2010, O'Neill served as the Marian expert for the Relevant Radio Live Broadcast of the Mass of the Mass in Champion, WI where David L. Ricken, Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, gave his official declaration on the authenticity of the 1859 Marian apparitions to Adele Brise, the first such approval in the history of the United States. He hosts the weekly Relevant Radio program “The Miracle Hunter™” and co-hosted the television special "Miracle Hunters" (UpTV 2014).

ABOUT OUR SUNDAY VISITOR

The world’s largest English-language Catholic publisher, Our Sunday Visitor serves millions of Catholics globally through its publishing, offertory, and communication services. Established in 1912, Our Sunday Visitor publishes a wide range of books including Bibles, biographies of the saints, books by Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, children’s books, devotionals, bible studies, inspirational works, and curriculum. Our Sunday Visitor is a not-for-profit organization, returning a portion of net earnings back to the Catholic community through the Our Sunday Visitor Institute. For more information, visit www.osv.com.