It appears that the late Pope John Paul II may be short one miracle. Supporters of an expedited process for sainthood for John Paul suffered a blow this month with the news that accounts of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre’s recovery from Parkinson’s disease may have been premature. Three years ago, the sister explained how she regained her health after a night of prayer to John Paul. That miracle was the basis for the call for rapid canonization.
In some ways, the relapse supports traditionalists who insist on a much longer period of examination for such elevation for sainthood. After the Pope’s death, the crowd began to chant “santo subito”, or “saint straightaway”. Many in the church supported the effort but they would need at least two miracles. One seemed to come with Sister Marie.
In 2007, the sister could barely move her left side, could not write legibly, drive or move around without great pain. She said that, after writing Pope John Paul’s name on a paper, and joining her order in praying to him, she woke without pain and was able to return to her duties.
Doctors, however, believe that she was in fact in remission from a diseases that is similar but not the same as Parkinson’s. The 49-year-old nun later fell ill again with the same symptoms, which doctors say is not uncommon to this diseases.
The report comes at a time when supporters wanted to move beyond the “beatification” stage — a precursor to sainthood. Beatification requires at least one miracle. A second is needed for sainthood.
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