Oprah Winfreyrevealed her "hidden family secret"… a.k.a. "the miracle of all miracles"…on yesterday's show.  Ladies and gentlemen:  Oprah has a half-sister.

I know, I know.  I shouldn't have blurted out something so shocking without preparing you for it first.  I'll give you a moment to collect yourself.  OK now? Read the whole rundown on the next page...

Here's the rundown of how it all came together:

Oprah's mother, Vernita Lee, had a baby girl in 1963, but she gave the baby up for adoption.  Oprah was nine years old, but never knew about the pregnancy because she was living with her father in Tennessee at the time.

The girl, who was later named Patricia, lived in foster homes in Milwaukee before finally being adopted when she was seven.  A few years ago, she went to the adoption agency in an effort to find her mother.

The agency wouldn't give Patricia any names, but they did contact her mother . . . and said she was NOT interested in meeting her at that time.

Patricia didn't want to give up, but all she had to go on was that she had three half-siblings . . . but that two of them had died, and the other was once in Tennessee.

And now, for "the miracle of all miracles" part . . . or more like "the coincidence of all coincidences" . . .

Patricia happened to see a local news interview with Vernita, in which she talked about how she had two dead children, who were half-siblings to Oprah.

Their ages and death dates matched the adoption information Patricia had . . . and amazingly, she took that and started to put the pieces together.

Then, she saw a magazine story on a woman named Alisha, who was Oprah's half-niece.  She was the daughter of one of Vernita's deceased children . . . a daughter named Pat, or Patricia.

(This is another crazy coincidence.  Vernita didn't name Patricia before giving her up for adoption . . . so it's just happenstance that they had the same name.)

The LIVING Patricia met up with Alisha at the restaurant she owned . . . and she agreed to participate in a DNA test.  It proved that they were related.

Patricia then spent three years trying to contact Vernita and / or Oprah, but didn't have any luck.  Finally, talk within Oprah's family began to heat up . . . and Oprah's mother finally admitted that it was true this past November.

Oprah Winfrey's Earth-Shattering Half-Sister Revelation: The Reunion

Oprah Winfrey met her half-sister when her family joined Oprah's family for Thanksgiving in Milwaukee . . . and then Patricia appeared on yesterday's show. Oprah said she wanted to wait to reveal everything publicly on her show because, quote, "There is no way a story like this wouldn't get out in the press and wouldn't get exploited.  It is true.  I wanted you to hear it from me first."

On that note, Oprah also became emotional when talking about how Patricia never "sold her out" to the press . . . even though she knew she could be Oprah's sister since 2007, and was having trouble contacting Oprah directly.

She said, quote, "Since I have been a person known in the public, there have been few times when I've been anywhere and not been sold out . . .

"What is so extraordinary is they have known this secret since 2007 . . . she never once thought to go to the press.  She never once thought to sell this story."

Patricia responded, quote, "Family business should be handled by family.  It couldn't be handled by anyone else.  That's not fair.  It wouldn't be fair to you."

Oprah said that she and Patricia will be, quote, "getting to know each other in the months and days and years to come."

By the way, Oprah's mom, Vernita, didn't come on the live show, but she did appear in a taped interview with Oprah.

Vernita explained that she initially denied that she'd given a child up for adoption because, quote, "I thought it was a terrible thing that I had done.  I made the decision to give her up because I wasn't able to take care of her."

She added, quote, "I did think about the baby.  I went back looking for her and they told me she had left."

(Here are a few videos from "Oprah".  You can watch the clip of Oprah confirming the news, here.  There's also a clip of Oprah talking to Patricia about her resilient search, here.)

(Here's video of Patricia talking about the moment she realized she could be Oprah's half sister.  And here's a clip of Oprah talking about how SHE found out she had a sister.  And here's video of Oprah introducing Patricia.)