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Healed in Answer to Prayer

Following a severe accident and injury to his chest, Francis Sweet suffered constant excruciating pain. Unable to go on, he cried out to God, and God answered.

Short sketch of Francis Sweet Jr.

My great-grandfather, Francis Sweet, Jr. was born in Darlington, Ontario on Sept. 15, 1854. His father was a tanner and he was the second son of 11 children. Around 1869, the family moved to Gesto, a small farming community in south-western Ontario (25 miles from the Windsor-Detroit border). There the family attended a Methodist church.

When he was 23, Francis married and the couple immediately started a family. He farmed and also owned a small lumber mill.

The accident recounted in this article took place in 1890 when he was 36 years old and the father of six children. After his miraculous healing 11 months later, Francis Sweet Jr. lived another 32 years (he died in 1923). He also went on to father another six children!

Lois Sweet

Having received inquiries of late from different parts of the country regarding the cure I believe the Lord to have wrought in me and as the newspaper reports are more or less inaccurate, I deem it my duty to have a statement of the facts embodied in a circular, that all may see for themselves, and get a correct idea of what actually did happen. Following are the circumstances of my sickness and recovery as near as I can describe them:

Healed in Answer to Prayer
Francis Sweet Jr. At 49 years of age, 1903.

On Tuesday, May 6th, 1890, I was up to my father's farm with my team, one of them a young colt, for some seed perse. I had got but one bag on the wagon, on which was a heavy rack, when my little girl, coming from school, accidentally scared the horses and off they started. I made a spring for the lines, but succeeded in catching only the check-rein of the off horse. I stumbled against the cistern and was thrown under the horses' feet, one of which injured my arm by tramping upon it.

The front wheel then struck me on the chest, and I felt it crush me in like a person would an egg shell. No bones were broken, but a rasping crunching sound made me think at first there were. The hind wheel then caught me and jammed me against the stable bridge, passing over the muscles just above the thigh joint. Unable to move, I was carried into the house, suffering acutely.

On Wednesday, the next day, inflammation set in, but we succeeded in checking it: afterward it returned and communicated itself to my whole system. The inflammation caused me to perspire so much, that the bed clothes would be wringing wet, then fever would ensue for a while and dry it up almost instantly. These alternated for three days when the fever left but the inflammation continued for six days longer.

I began to feel better now, and on the 4th of June I attempted to plant some corn, but it made me worse. I went to bed feeling very tired and now occurred my first spasm. Dr. Dewar of Essex was called in and left me some medicine: sometimes this medicine had some effect in preventing the spasms and sometimes it seemed to have none at all. Sometime after this, he recommended me to consult Dr. Ingles of Detroit, a specialist on nervous affections. I did so, and while in his office, happened to have a spasm. He said he had, in all his practice seen nothing like it and told me that I might possibly recover, but under no circumstances, however favourable, would I be able to do any work within two years.

"If the spasms keep coming on," he said, "I can hold out no hope for your recovery at all." The spasms did keep coming on, more or less frequently during the fall and winter and though I felt better at times, I would be so weak that I could not go from the house to the barn, a distance of ten rods without the aid of a cane, and even then had to rest several times.

I went around in a half stooping posture for I could not possibly straighten my legs. During this time, the spasms increased in numbers and violence, and on April 4th, 1891, I was taken to bed, and did not get up again until I was raised.

On this day, I had the spasms for four hours without intermission, from 7 to 11 a.m. About 2 p.m. the doctor called, but failed to do me any permanent good. Every day after this I kept growing worse. When the convulsions occurred the nerve would contract, force up the diaphragm, expel all the air from my lungs, and with terrible force seemed to tear my heart and lungs from their places and lift them up to my shoulders. My breath would come shorter and faster and every gasp seemed to tear my heart in pieces.

The intense agony forced me to scream to the top of my voice. My heart would beat with such violence, that I thought it would actually tear my breast and get out.

… the pain it cost me to catch my breath, beggars description.

One person would have to bear down on it with all their might to keep it in its place. My gasps intermingled with screams, were now coming with lightning rapidity; finally they reached the climax and my breath went from me out in the air leaving me lifeless. For about three minutes I could not regain my breath. Then it would come back with a gasp and oh, the pain it cost me to catch my breath, beggars description.

My heart was twisted and strained until it seemed it would split. As soon as I caught my breath, away it would go again in the same manner. These attacks would be repeated at intervals of five or ten minutes, for three or four hours at a time. On Wednesday, April 8th, my conversion which had hitherto been unsatisfactory to myself seemed assured, and I tried to become resigned to my sufferings.

About 4 a.m., the next morning, after suffering an attack of the spasms, the worst I had had, I began to feel sleepy, couldn't keep awake, but just as soon as I dozed off my breath would leave me in the manner described above. Then I would awaken, but immediately doze off again, causing the pain to start.

They shook me and did everything to keep me awake, but to no purpose. I must sleep, though I knew that tortures inconceivable would follow an attempt to do so.

I kept on dozing and starting into wakefulness suffering pain, which seemed to tear me to pieces, until 6 p.m. when the spasms left me. I told my wife that I could not stand another spasm and gave myself only another half hour to live, after the commencement of another attack.

About seven o'clock in the evening, I felt one coming on, so I bade them all goodbye and prepared for death, as I thought I had only a few minutes to live. My wife took my right hand, while my left lay powerless on the bed. That afternoon, unknown to my wife, I had prayed as follows; "Oh God, if it be Thy will, raise me to my natural amount of health and strength, but if it be Thy will to take me away, take me in sleep," for I felt I could not bear another such pain.

She now prayed identically the same prayer. Bother Jim then came in and he prayed earnestly for my restoration.

I thought the latter part of my prayer was to be my portion, for I began to feel drowsy and I verily believed that death was hastily approaching. My wife and brother prayed, "Oh God, if it be consistent with Thy will, raise him now Lord, now—now—now."

Simultaneously, with the utterance of the last now, I felt unseen hands placed upon me, one under my right shoulder, the other over my left breast, a delicious, cool, refreshing wave passed over me just like the gentle stroke of a bird's wing, and I felt cured.

Instantaneously, I was lifted upright in bed, without the least effort on my part, and I was as strong that moment as I ever had been. Before this time a position like this was impossible. My head would just roll around as if I had no control over it whatsoever. I immediately began ascribing praise to God for my wonderful deliverance, and for a full half hour did nothing else.

… I think [the Lord] has raised me as a sign of Hs miraculous power, to do a great work and to make me a testimony of that power.

I then wanted to get up and asked for my clothes, but my brother Jim suggested that I had better lie down for a while; I did so and just then felt a trifle sick, but I dropped asleep and slept soundly all night.

Next day I arose, dressed myself, and went out. Since then, I have called on all the neighbours and have done a great deal of work. Why on the day following, I went out and gave the horses a good currying, something they had not had for two months. I have, along with other work, been digging post-holes, loading stamps on a boat, lifting, sometimes, very heavy and have been attending meeting every night for two weeks, up till twelve o'clock, but have not felt the least tired, except a trifle fatigued on the Saturday night: but have not had the least pain.

I have been perfectly happy ever since, feel like working for the Lord all the time now and I think He has raised me as a sign of His miraculous power, to do a great work and to make me a testimony of that power. I am confident that it was God's interposition that has brought me back from a bed of death to health and strength, nothing else could have done it.

Faithfully yours,
Francis W. Sweet, Jr.

We, the undersigned, do testify that Mr. Sweet was as sick and suffered as he has stated in the above, and that ever since Thursday, April 9th, 1891, he has been, so far as we see, in perfect health.


Mr. Fred L. Sweet, Gesto, Ontario
Mr. John Humber, Cottam, Ontario
Rev. M.F. Hawley, Gesto, Ontario
Wm. Blight, Gesto, Ontario
F.M. Latam, Gesto, Ontario
M. Barrett, Gesto, Ontario
James Sweet, Kingsville, Ontario

Lois Sweet, a great grand daughter of Francis Sweet Jr., is associate professor with the School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University, Ottawa.

Originally published as a public document in the local paper, 1891.




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