‘The Miracle’: Woman walks for first time in seven months at Natchez church

Published 1:46 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2023

NATCHEZ — More than 100 people in the congregation of Natchez Church of God on Sunday, Nov. 5, witnessed what they describe as a miracle mid-service.

Youth who had been in church Sunday left that evening still talking about, “the miracle,” said Angela Monehan, who is the wife of the head pastor.

“The miracle” came in the form of Jean Bonds, who had been bound to a wheelchair and a back brace for seven months until that Sunday.

Email newsletter signup

“As they were leaving, that’s all they would talk about,” she said.

Her husband, the Rev. Brian Monehan said even he couldn’t explain what had happened.

“I’m the most sane person I know, and probably the most rational,” he said. “But I believe God does the impossible and the unexpected. I’ve seen miracles happen before. … Even though you witness such things before, it’s still overwhelming and unfathomable when you witness the power of God.”

Brian Monehan said since it was a Thanksgiving service, he felt the need for an unscripted 30 seconds to allow the congregation to pray prayers of thanksgiving in the middle of his message. This was something he’d done before, but he didn’t anticipate what would happen next.

“That 30-second period turned into about an hour,” he said.

Angela Monehan laid hands on Bonds’ legs when she came to the front of the church during the impromptu prayer and prayed for the wheelchair-bound woman.

After a few minutes of praying, the miracle started.

“She (Bonds) had her eyes closed and was in the presence of God. She was crying,” Angela Monehan said.

“She put her feet on the floor and then all of a sudden puts her hand on my right arm and lifts herself up. As she was standing, she began to move a little bit. She stood there for quite a while.”

Seven months ago, Bonds hurt herself while working in the garden. She had fractured a disk in her back and her doctor noticed several other older fractures that Bonds didn’t even know she had. Since that incident, she didn’t get better, Angela Monehan said.

“She could get to her bed but her son has been living with her and doing everything for her,” she said. “She sat in her recliner right by the phone and each time I’d call to see how she is doing she’d tell me, ‘Still sitting here.’”

Bonds had a medical condition that made her bones very fragile. She had several new fractures after the gardening incident.

“She broke a disk in her back just by sitting in her back brace and turning. That’s how fragile her bones were,” Angela Monehan said.

Bonds’ standing for the first time in months was a miracle in and of itself, but it didn’t end there.

After the prayer, her son wheeled her chair to the back of the church, where Angela Monehan said she and the rest of the church later noticed Bonds up and walking around.

“She said the Holy Spirit spoke to her and said, ‘You need to get up and walk,’” Angela Monehan said. “She is very shy and very quiet. Sunday was so out of character for her. She started making her way down the aisle and started doing circles around the pews.”

Bonds told Angela Monehan, “Something within me said to keep walking. The more I walked, the stronger I got.”

Everywhere in the church, you could hear shouts of praise as people noticed the lady who had been in a wheelchair was now up and walking around the sanctuary.

“Heads turned and most everyone was turning and watching her walk. Everyone just began to rejoice. It was a loud eruption of praise,” Angela Monehan said.

The following week she called again to check on Bonds and heard she had been out getting a pedicure and new furniture put in her living room.

“My back is straighter,” Bonds told Angela Monehan. “God is still healing.”

Angela Monehan said she and everyone else in the church knew that they’d witnessed a miracle.

“All we know is that the past several months she has been in that wheelchair and in the back brace and now she is not,” she said. “I’ve talked to friends who are doctors and they said you would have to be in physical therapy after being in a chair for that long because everything deteriorates. For her to stand, much less move and walk, is a miracle.”

Brian Monehan said both he and his wife both witnessed other miracles before he came to pastor Natchez Church of God.

“Every person that lives today is a miracle, but then there are those moments that he does the unthinkable and manifests himself in a way that goes against nature. This was just one of those divine instances when God does what only he can do.”

Angela Monehan agreed.

“The presence of God was more tangible in that moment. I’ve seen people healed who couldn’t see and people healed who had a stroke. A lot of miracles before this one. Miracles happen and there is a God. There’s no denying that. This was nothing that man could’ve done.”