Brother John Aranguren, S. J. was born in Guipuzcoa, Spain, and he was working in the town of Pasto, near Bogota, Columbia, in the School of St. Francis Xavier. He was a Jesuit brother teaching Catechism to children who had been baptized Catholics but who would never have known about God if it were not for his devotion and interest in teaching them the rudiments of their faith.
One day he noticed a swelling of his tongue. It increased until he could only talk with great difficulty. It was cancer.
The cancer was first discovered at the end of 1948, and on the 30th of August 1949 he underwent the first operation in Palermo Hospital in Bogota. This first operation removed several teeth and much tissue, but the tumor recurred over a wider area. He was going to be operated on again on the 19th of September, when during the night of September 18th to 19th, a miracle took place.
In a hospital in Bogota, the brother was to have his tongue removed by Dr. Pablo Tovar Borda. He was resigned. He understood that it was either his tongue or his life, and he obeyed his Superiors. He would never speak again. He would never again explain to little children who God was...that they had a Guardian Angel...that they must fulfill ten commandments in order to keep in God's love and obtain Heave.
During the night before the operation, the brother awoke. Standing beside his bed was his mother, who had died long before this. She seemed absolutely real. She was accompanied by a radiantly beautiful Lady dressed in white, with a golden globe suspended around Her neck, and much love and light that filled him with amazement and joy. His mother explained that this was Our Lady of Fatima, and that She had come to cure him and also to give him a message.
Our Lady then reached down and touched his tongue. Instantly the cancer disappeared and Our Lady said: "Continue to teach the children Catechism, but also teach them how to pray the Rosary. Do not tell anyone about this until you have spoken to the doctor."
Still filled with the joy of the vision, the poor brother hardly realized what had happened. It was only when darkness had returned to the room that he began to move his tongue and gradually the realization of the apparition and the cure had come to him. It was true! It wasn't a dream! He could move his tongue normally! He could talk normally! He wanted to jump out of bed and run and shout and tell everyone what had happened. But he remembered the words of Our Lady: "Do not tell anyone about this until you have spoken to the doctor." And the doctor would not be there until the time of the operation to remove his tongue!
In order to keep himself from disobeying Our Lady, he remained in silent prayer until morning. The orderly came to give him the anesthesia and prepare him for the operation. He shook his head, refusing it. The orderly tried to insist, explaining: "It is either your tongue or your life, so do not hesitate."
The brother simply continued to shake his head. When the orderly tried with some force to give the anesthesia, he resisted also with force. The orderly sought reinforcements, but the brother made it clear that he would not accept the anesthesia.
When the doctor came, the men said to him in distress: "Doctor, he won't take the anesthesia. He seems to be afraid of the operation."
The doctor repeated what he had told him before: it was either his tongue or his life. But now the brother was free to speak!
"Doctor, Our Lady of Fatima appeared to me during the night and cured me. The cancer is gone!"
Of course, not believing this, the doctor began the examination. It was true. The cancer had disappeared. The brother was released from the hospital and he continued teaching Catechism in the Missions of Colombia, even into his 80s.
He also began teaching the children, with equal fervor, with equal zeal, how to pray Our Lady's Rosary!