Episode 5: The Two Miracles Required for the Canonization of John Paul II

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Episode 5: The Two Miracles Required for the Canonization of John Paul II

“A woman whose ‘miraculous’ recovery from an inoperable brain aneurysm paved the way for the late Pope John Paul II to be declared a saint at a ceremony at the Vatican…has described how the Polish pontiff appeared to her in a vision.  [Floribeth Mora Diaz, from Costa Rica, claims to have been fully healed from an inoperable brain aneurysm through the intercession of now St. John Paul II].  [In 2011] Mrs. Mora was told by doctors in her home country that her condition was hopeless and that her death was only a matter of time.  Partially paralyzed, she was on pain medication and lying in bed at home on May 1, 2011, clutching a magazine with a front cover photograph of the former Polish pontiff, when he purportedly appeared before her in a vision.  It was the day that John Paul II was beatified at a grand open-air ceremony in St Peter’s Square – the first step towards him being made a saint.  “Floribeth, get up, what are you doing here? Why don’t you go into the kitchen and see your husband?” the vision said to her.  The late Pope’s hands seemed to reach out towards her from the cover of the magazine, she said.  “And I responded, now I feel fine, I’m going, I’m going”.

She insisted that from that day on, she was completely cured. “I felt a great sense of wellness inside me.”  Acknowledging that many people would be highly skeptical of her recovery, and of the whole concept of miracles, she said that “people can think what they want – what I know is that I’m healthy.”  “There are always people who don’t believe me, who say I’m crazy, but what counts for me today is that this ‘crazy woman’ is cured.”  Even her neurosurgeon seems to be convinced. “If I cannot explain it from a medical standpoint, something non-medical happened,” said Alejandro Vargas Roman. “I can believe it was a miracle.”

It was not long before the Vatican contacted her in what was the start of a long process in which the purported miracle was scrutinized by the experts of the Holy See, led by the Vatican “postulator” in charge of advancing John Paul II’s sainthood.  Mrs. Mora was flown to a Church-run hospital in Rome, where she was registered under a false name while doctors conducted tests, which showed that she was completely healthy.  “I was meant to be just a tourist from Costa Rica who had fallen ill while on holiday in Italy,” she said. “The watchword was – maximum secrecy.”…Her cure, which the Vatican insists cannot be explained by science, was declared a miracle [in July of 2014] by Pope Francis, in a move, which gave the final approval for John Paul II to be canonized.

The first miracle attributed to him was the apparent healing of a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre.  Her recovery from Parkinson’s disease after praying for the late Pope’s “intercession” in 2005 had no medical explanation, the Catholic Church maintains.” (Nick Squires, Vatican News).  “Sister Marie Simon-Pierre was 44 and working as a nurse in a hospital maternity unit near Arles, in southern France, when she fell ill, in 2001.  Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, she described how the neurological condition worsened dramatically following the death of John Paul II, on 2 April 2005.  As soon as the special dispensation had been granted to allow John Paul II to be considered for beatification, her community began to pray to him for a miracle.  Of course it was the same illness that John Paul had suffered from 1992…”My fellow sisters from all the French and African communities started asking John Paul II to intercede for my healing. They prayed incessantly, tirelessly, right up to the news of my healing,” she has described.  She explained that she knew she was healed when she was able to hold a pen and write his name on a piece of paper.  “And my handwriting was perfectly legible! Astonishing! I laid on my bed, amazed. Exactly two months has passed since John Paul II returned to the House of the Father. I awoke at 4:30, amazed at having been able to sleep. I suddenly got out of bed: my body was no longer painful, there was no rigidity and, inside, I was no longer the same.”  On Friday, after months of deliberations and a complex process that has involved both medical experts and Church officials, Pope Benedict XVI confirmed that such a dramatic and scientifically inexplicable shift in her physical condition was indeed due to the intercession of John Paul II.  The case fulfilled the criteria for a miracle – the healing was instant, without scientific explanation and long-lasting.  “Her case is exceptional as we know that you cannot normally be cured of neurological diseases.” (BBC)

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