Friday, March 30, 2007

The discreet little nun who could speed Pope John Paul II to sainthood

The Times reports that a French nun will be thrust into the global limelight today when Catholic Church authorities explain that her purported recovery from Parkinson’s disease can be attributed to the miraculous intervention of Pope John Paul II.

The sudden return to health of Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre after she scrawled Pope John Paul’s name on a piece of paper is being hailed as the post-humous miracle needed to set the late Pope on the road towards sainthood.

Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, from Puyricard, near Aix-en-Provence, in southern France, said she was struck by Parkinson’s disease in 2001. Her condition worsened over the next four years and, by the time the Pope died in April 2005, she was unable to stand or walk. She had stopped working as a nurse in a Paris maternity hospital and was confined to office activities.

Two months later she tried to write down John Paul II’s name as she prayed to him for help “but all that came out was a scribble,” she said in an account sent to the Vatican.

However, that evening, the “miracle” occurred.

“I fell asleep and, waking up several hours later, felt that the illness had disappeared,” said Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre.

She leapt out of bed and went to the chapel to pray.

“I felt a profound sense of peace and wellbeing. My hand did not tremble anymore.” Four days later the doctor who had been treating her for four years declared that the symptoms had vanished completely, with no medical explanation.