I’m not known for being much of an optimist and I’m certainly not filled with any certainty that the Pontiff’s appearance before Congress is going to heal all the political wounds of the nation. His visit, however, is a reminder that politics is actually a dirty little business and is far removed from the more wondrous aspects of the universe. While getting John Boehner and Harry Reid to see eye to eye may even be beyond the scope of the Holy See, is Pope Francis already performing miracles more along the lines of what we might expect from God’s representative on Earth? His visit has prompted the press to take a look at some of the inexplicable and wonderful things which have surrounded him since his selection.
One of these stories comes to us from USA Today. They recount the tale of a woman with a baby, named Ave, who was born with terrible physical challenges including Down syndrome, eye and ear problems, and perhaps most disconcertingly, two holes in her heart. But that began to change when she took her child to see Pope Francis.
In Easter of 2014, the family planned a Rome trip to see Pope Francis in person during the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII.
“It was raining,” Lynn said. “We were told that if we stood on a barricade in St. Peter’s Square, the metal fences in front, the Pope would come by in his ‘Pope’-mobile.”
The Cassidy family waited for hours at the barricade. When the motorcade turned into the square, Lynn’s husband Scott held Ave up in the air.
“It was like the Lion King,” Lynn said. “The secret service person, Johnny, stopped and took her from Scott and held her up to the Pope. The Pope asked my husband, ‘How old is she? What’s her name?’ He told (the Pope) she has two holes in her heart. When we got home in May, we went back to the cardiologist for a check-up. One of the holes was completely closed and one was half the size.”
Here is the photo of the moment which the family keeps in their home, as the Pope holds his hand over the child’s damaged heart.
Sure, you can say that maybe it would have happened on its own if you wish. Sometimes sick people just get well through the body’s natural healing process. But this child was in very bad shape and after the Pope held her she recovered more than her health. Her family has been healed in other ways and if their faith is enriched by experiencing a miracle we’d be pretty callous to cast stones at them over it.
It’s not the first time in recent history that miracles have been attributed to a Pope. John Paul II had two miracles credited to his intervention, both posthumously. (US News and World Report)
John Paul supposedly performed his first miracle on a French nun with Parkinson’s disease just months after he died in 2005. ZENIT, a non-profit news agency that reports on the Catholic Church, has a translation of the testimony of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of Catholic Motherhood, who says she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2001, worsened in the subsequent years, and healed after John Paul’s intercession in 2005.
“I was finished; I struggled to stand and to walk,” she writes 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.'”
Pierre describes writing down the Pope’s name, going to bed, and in the morning having “leapt out of bed” with her body “no longer insensitive, rigid, and interiorly I was not the same.”
Scoff if you like… but I’m not.