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Miracle in Makawao

A story of faith and blessed water.

April 1, 2010
Cindy Schumacher

Contemplating the seemingly impossible, we are reminded by Simone Weil that, “All the natural movements of the soul are controlled by laws analogous to those of physical gravity. Grace is the only exception. We must always expect things to happen in conformity with the laws of gravity, unless there is supernatural intervention.”

One such exception exists right here on Maui.

“There is an angel on Maui—one that not too many people know about, but one who perhaps so many could benefit from,” said Ann Williams from Lahaina.

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For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.

Raffael Vendola, or “Raffi,” as he is commonly known, is bestowed with a special gift from God. He is an extraordinary healer.

“For many years, Raffi has helped people overcome a variety of serious, ‘incurable’ illnesses through his holy water that has been blessed by the Blessed Mother Mary,” said Williams.

Vendola’s healing mission begins with the remarkable story of his sister, Filomenia Vendola Dingle. In 2004, The Maui Weekly reported “Mama” Filomenia to be a “Miracle in Makawao.” She was described as a woman able to challenge our belief systems and rattle our perception of religion.

Dingle described her own healing power as a miracle. In 1985, while living in Italy, she became ill and suffered a brain aneurism and a massive stroke. For 40 days, she was in a comatose state and pronounced brain dead. While in this vegetative state, she had what may be considered a near-death experience.

“I met the Blessed Mother Mary who told me that I had died temporarily to pick up my mission and my future work,” she said. She was told to go back to her body and to do a healing mission on Earth.

 By 1995, she had become known on Maui and the neighboring islands through a thank you letter published in The Maui News by a local resident who experienced a miracle healing from her. Other islanders began contacting her to seek her help. When they heard Dingle was having some hard times, her Hawaiian friends scraped together enough money to fly her and her brother, Raffi, to Maui and moved them into a small ‘ohana in Makawao.

“She was a wonderful spiritual woman with a huge, generous heart towards helping all those in need,” said Jessica Berthiaume of Kula. “My initial interest in Filomenia Dingle came from an article I read about her in the Maui Weekly. I excitedly drove up the mountain that day with high expectations about the woman in the article who had blessed holy water. Could this be real?” she asked. Arriving at the small cottage in Makawao, she saw a stream of people outside the door waiting for their blessed water.

“I heard stories of faith and blessed water that works miracles, and know there are those walking around as living testimonials,” she said.

Since her death, Dingle’s work continues through Raffi and his wife, April.

“Like Dingle, they represent the hope we all have to be blessed with a miracle of healing,” said Berthiaume.

Although their background is Roman Catholic, Raffi and April welcome all faiths.

“This healing does not involve any one religion because God is only one for the whole world,” said Raffi. “We pray for everyone.”

He explained that water is a gift from God. “I pray to the Blessed Mother and Jesus and they bless the water,” he said.

The couple said that the water holds that holy energy, and that is its healing power. They charge nothing for their service, although donations are gladly accepted.

Written testimonials are available about the miraculous healings performed with the blessed holy water for anyone to read.

One such story is from Frances Oshiro, a County of Maui Parks employee. Oshiro was diagnosed by two different doctors with incurable bone marrow cancer. She was told to prepare to die.

“I contacted Dingle and Raffi and began a regimen of blessed water,” said Oshiro. “When I was tested later, the doctors documented that my cancer had indeed gone into remission.”

Ramona Costa from Ha‘ikū wishes to share her story with the Holy Father at the Vatican. “I am a true-blooded Catholic,” she said. “With faith in the Blessed Mother and Heavenly Father, all things are possible.” Costa claims her health turned around 100 percent from drinking the blessed water of Mama Dingle and Raffi. “I no longer walk with a cane,” she said.

Raffi’s future vision is to construct a sanctuary and retreat to carry on his healing mission. He is asking for help to achieve this. His message contains a simple elegance: “I follow the rules of God. I have a gift to pass on to others. I am here. Come.”

As stated in the famous quote, “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.”



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