“Miracle” James and his encyclopedic knowledge of the Faith

“Miracle” James and his encyclopedic knowledge of the Faith

A heartwarming story about a 7-year-old boy who loves his Catholic faith and with special God-given gifts.

James Higgins, 7, has been attending daily Mass since he was 3 years old. His parents, Stephen and Lauren, never have to drag him out of bed or away from his Lucky Charms to get him there either.

“I have it in my heart to go,” said James, decked out in a blue sweat suit, a Red Sox jacket and cap. He’s currently undecided between a career with the Red Sox—or as the first American pope.

Given this boy’s encyclopedic knowledge of the church, the safe money is on the Vatican job.

His pastor decided that he should receive his First Communion last October, 18 months ahead of his peers. Apparently it’s not only because “James has amassed a knowledge and understanding of all things Catholic that would send even the most devout nun’s head spinning.” He can give the feast days and biography of nearly any saint you can imagine, but it doesn’t stop there.

He can also explain the joys and sorrows of Mary, how all the martyrs of the church have died, the seven deadly sins, the corporal and spiritual works of the Holy Spirit, the 14 holy helpers, and the 33 “doctors” of the church — in order, including the pope who appointed them.

Of course, one should not confuse encyclopedic knowledge with sanctity and you get the sense that James is an otherwise very normal boy—despite his daily Mass attendance, his favorite part of the day is PE class.

James’ parents consider him their miracle child. He was born 10 weeks premature on All Souls Day, and was given just a slight chance of surviving. Around age 3, James became infatuated with Mary, often hugging and kissing statues of her.

Since then, his mother said simply, being Catholic “is a way of life for him.”

Would that it were so matter of fact for the rest of us.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
3 comments
  • I’m not saying this kid doesn’t have the makings of a saint, but his abilities might be explained as a form of high-functioning autism known as Asperger’s syndrome.

    Then again, I could be wrong.

  • David,

    I think a lot of saints had Asperger’s.  I think *I* have Asperger’s. 

    Also, his “encyclopedic knowledge” tends towards “Saints’ stats.”  It’s not really any different than a seven year old boy who’s memorized data on all the members of, say, the Red Sox or the G. I. Joe team.

    His knowledge doesn’t seem that miraculous if you combine the fact that his parents are obviously devout Catholics who do good job teaching him with a really smart kid.

    It’s his *faith* that makes this kid special.  The fact that, as the article’s author notes, he’s devoting to religion the mental energies and hobby-activities taht other kids give to video games and toys, and his daily Mass attendance.

  • David,
    I thought the exact same thing. My oldest son has Asperger’s, and we suspect my youngest son does, as well. And of course, he could be both on fire for God and His Church AND have an Asperger’s-driven focus for memorizing the things he has.

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