The French Nun
by Friar Mario
A YEAR ON from the opening of the cause for beatification and canonisation of the Servant of God, John Paul II, work at the Vicariate at Rome is in full progress.
So far, about a dozen of the one hundred or so witnesses required for a canonisation process have been heard. These witnesses have given convincing testimonies regarding the heroic virtues of our late pope to a commission presided over by Monsignor Gianfranco Bella, delegate of the Roman Vicariate.
At the conclusion of the hearings (the date is still to be decided), the commission must organise all the testimonies gathered, and from this body of documentary evidence will be drawn the positio prepared by the postulator of the cause, Monsignor Slawomir Oder.
In the meantime, from November 4, 2005 to April of this year, the rogatory stage of the beatification process which took place in Kracow heard about 30 witnesses. Another process is still in progress in the US which is due to end this year.
So far, much material attesting to extraordinary healings obtained through the intercession of John Paul II has been gathered, such as healings from malignant tumours, Hepatitis C, and heart diseases. Moreover, a wealth of testimonies has also been collected regarding children born after many years of sterility, during which the parents tried all sorts of cures in vain.
Be that as it may, one of the most sensational episodes is that of a French nun who has allegedly healed from Parkinson’s disease. The incident is being investigated by a canonical process to determine if the event is truly miraculous in nature. The French bishop in whose diocese the alleged miracle occurred has determined that the identity of the nun in question will remain undisclosed until the investigating committee has shed full light on the episode. Church officials want to preserve the calm and dispassionate approach of the inquiry into her healing.
The nun, however, has told Totus Tuus, a periodical founded to track the cause for the pope’s canonisation, that she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in June 2001, and that her symptoms steadily deteriorated, with increased insomnia, pain and trembling. During the four years since diagnosis, the disease had got to the point that she was no longer able to perform her ordinary duties as a nurse.
The devotion of this nun to the Polish pontiff was well-known to her Sisters, and, as soon as they heard of the opening of the cause of beatification and canonisation on May 14, 2005, the nuns started praying the ‘servant of God – John Paul II’ for their Sister’s healing.
However, the nun’s condition continued to deteriorate. Finally, on June 2, she had to ask her Mother Superior, for an exemption from all types of work.
‘The Mother Superior,’ says the nun, ‘gave me a fountain pen, and asked me to write John Paul II. For a while, we stared silently at my completely illegible handwriting… After the Vespers I went into my office before retiring into my room. Unexpectedly, I felt a desire to pick up a fountain pen and write… It was 9:30pm, but my handwriting was now clearly legible! I went to my room, and lay down on my bed, feeling very surprised. It was exactly two months since the death of John Paul II’.
Unexpectedly, the nun fell asleep soon after, and slept deeply for a number of hours, until, ‘I woke up with a start and stepped out of bed. My body was no longer stiff or aching. I felt a strong desire to go to the chapel and pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, where a profound sense of well-being pervaded me; something too big to describe; a mystery, difficult to explain in words’.
On July 7 the nun went to her neurologist, ‘He too was completely at a loss. All the symptoms of the disease had disappeared, and this despite the interruption of all medicines’.
Since then she has not had any health problems despite the fact that she has stopped taking the medicines. The nun has resumed all her tasks as before.
Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative malady, plagued John Paul II in his later years, making it difficult for him to walk, talk, and write, and, in the final weeks, even to swallow. There is no cure for this terrible malady. At this point, all we can do is quote the famous words of an unknown author, ‘For those who believe, no explanation is necessary, for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible’.