Miracles and Evidence Index
By Richard Bruce BA, MA, and PhC in Economics
Former Instructor St. John's University, New York City

Residents of Davis, CA Tell Stories of Understanding Tongues

I converted to Christianity and ultimately to Catholicism in Davis, as a graduate student in economics, in the early 1980's.

Early in my Christian walk, over a period of several weeks, I learned of three cases where close friends of mine had heard a person speaking in tongues where they knew the language but the speaker did not.

A neighbor of mine, a UCD undergrad, was siting with a friend in an empty church praying. The neighbor's friend was doubting the authenticity of their own tongue or prayer language. My neighbor's friend started praying in French. My neighbor listened for a while and finally asked, do you know French. My neighbor's friend said no. My neighbor said, now you do. Of course, my neighbor's friend didn't really know French. When you speak, pray, or sing in tongues you use a language you do not know. Nevertheless, God used this incident to reassure my neighbor's friend that her tongue was real.

Another friend, a UCD grad student, had gone to Africa with the Peace Core. They had planned to speak in tongues in front of the Africans, hoping that God would give him a native language as his tongue. He hoped that this would convert the Africans. This did not work, his tongue was not a native African language. However, when my friend returned they heard a white clergyman who did not know Swahili, praying in Swahili.

Another friend, a grad student from Taiwan, said he heard a person who did not know Japanese speak in Japanese during a prayer meeting in Taiwan.

None of these friends had meet anyone else who had told them a similar story, but I meet three people who told me these stores in a few weeks. I felt that the fact that I had learned these stories in such a short time from close friends was a miraculous coincidence, or as we sometimes say in our Charismatic prayer group a CHRIST-idence.

Since then I have only heard one similar story. I met a woman at a Charismatic conference that heard a woman who had just immigrated from Ireland, and spoke in a thick Irish brogue, go into Spanish while speaking in tongues.

This last lady was from the Sacramento Diocese, but not from Davis, and therefore the Saint James Parish. The three previous stories were from UC Davis students who lived in Davis, and therefore lived in Davis CA. and St. James Parish. Actually none of three people who told me their stories in Davis were Catholic, so they were only physically in St. James Parish.

I have noted that the people who experience this miracle of hearing tongues in a language they know and the speaker does not tend to be very intelligent and educated. This no doubt reflects the intelligent and educated population of Davis, but also the fact that they are more likely to know a foreign language.

Reflection on these Stories and Eucharistic Miracles

Those outside the Charismatic Renewal often think that people who are speaking in tongues are having some kind of ecstatic experience, bordering on temporary insanity. While a feeling of great joy can accompany the initial experience of tongues, the person speaking in tongues is normally not experiencing anything very exceptional beyond perhaps a sense of peace and closeness to God. We take it on faith that we are praying and praising God in a human or angelic tongue that we do not know.

This is somewhat similar to the person receiving the Eucharist in a Catholic or Orthodox church. The person does not see anything that the atheist does not see. They simply take it on faith that what appears to be bread or a wafer, and wine is in fact the body and blood of Christ.

While this is normally what happens on rare occasions Eucharistic miracles have occurred to confirm our faith. In a similar way there are miracles that confirm our faith in the gift of tongues. The events described here maybe examples of that.

Of course I am just a layman, this is not an official teaching of the Catholic Church, or even the opinion of a Catholic priest. I am taking advantage of my position as a layman to speculate and take chances. Priests must be more careful, bishops more careful still, and the pope extremely careful. To paraphrase Spider-Man great authority requires great restraint.

My friends seemed truthful to me, but you have to rely on both their honesty and mine.

You only have to rely on my honesty that I did hear the stories from three different friends in a short period of time. I have no reason to believe the Peace Core worker knew the other two. So I think collusion between all three very unlikely.

I hope this provides some context.

I have a number of web pages concerning new miraculous evidence for the faith. If you liked this perhaps you will find that interesting.

Tell me what you think, or share your local miracle stories. Here is my contact information..

Last edited May 25, 2015