It is not easy to be a saint. It is also not that easy to be declared a saint by the Catholic Church.
Not too many people are aware of the fact that in order for a person to be declared a saint, two documented and verified miracles attributed to that person are required by the Vatican. Those miracles need to have happened after the person’s death, and they need to be verified as authentic miracles by doctors and independent experts.
In the case of St. John Paul II, two amazing miracles, attributed to his intercession, led to the formal declaration of his sainthood.
Struggling with Parkinson’s Disease
The first miracle performed by St. John Paul was on a French nun who suffered from Parkinson’s disease - the same disease that St. John Paul himself suffered. It happened in June 2005, just several months after St. John Paul’s death.
Sister Marie Simon-Pierre of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of Catholic Motherhood was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2001. It worsened in subsequent years.
"I was finished; I struggled to stand and to walk," she wrote in her testimony. "[Later] I went to find my superior to ask her if I could leave my work. She encouraged me to endure a bit longer... and she added: 'John Paul II has not yet said his last word.’”
Her Mother Superior gave her a pen and told her to write: “John Paul II.” With great effort, Sister Pierre wrote: “John Paul II.”
A Feeling of Being Completely Reborn
The next morning, at 4:30 a.m., Sister Pierre woke up, and to her surprise, she said she “leapt out of bed.” Her body “was no longer insensitive, rigid, and interiorly I was not the same.” She then felt a strong interior call to pray before the Most Blessed Sacrament. There, while praying before the Most Blessed Sacrament, she said she felt a “profound peace and a sensation of well-being; too great an experience, a mystery difficult to explain with words.”
Later, before the Most Blessed Sacrament, Sister Pierre said she meditated on John Paul II’s Mysteries of Light.
She said: “It feels as if I had been reborn.”
Four days later, she went to her neurologist, who was shocked with the sudden disappearance of all her symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Ten months after the miracle, Sister Pierre said: “I am working normally again, I have no difficulty in writing and I also drive long distances. It feels as if I have been reborn: a new life, because nothing is as it was before.”
A Friend in Heaven who Made Her Love Eucharistic Adoration More
She thanks her “friend in heaven”, St. John Paul II, who helped her live a normal life again: “Today I can say that my friend has left our earth, but is now much closer to my heart. He has made the desire grow in me of adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and love of the Eucharist, which have a priority place in my daily life.”
Her amazing recovery was reviewed by independent medical and legal experts, who submitted their reports to the Vatican. Her full testimony can be found in Zenit.
A Crippling Brain Aneurism
St. John Paul II’s second miracle happened in 2011, six years after his death. According to testimonies, he cured a Costa Rican woman, Floribeth Mora, who had an aneurism on a major blood vessel in her brain. According to her neurosurgeon, she had an abnormal bulge in the artery of her brain, which was often fatal.
"The Lord had compassion on me, and through the intercession of John Paul II, he gazed upon this unworthy woman and healed me," Mora said.
Mora fervently prayed to John Paul II for his intercession to help cure here malady. At that time, Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul, a process in the Catholic Church which is usually the first step to sainthood (John Paul was declared “Blessed” at that time).
Mora watched the ceremony on television from her bed. The next morning, she said she woke up and heard a voice that told her: “Rise! Don’t be afraid!”. She said, “Yes, my Lord.”
Since that day, she said she was healed. Her neurosurgeon, Dr. Alejandro Vargas, was initially skeptical, so he ran a battery of tests. He declared: “I was surprised: the aneurysm did not exist!”. Dr. Vargas, who was present during the press conference declaring the miracle, said Mora’s brain arteries appeared “totally normal”.
Truly, if we have faith in the Lord, we will witness miracles in our lives! St. John Paul II, pray for us and intercede for us!