Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a French nun, claims that she was suddenly cured of Parkinson’s disease after praying to the late Pope John Paul II. According to the nun, her symptoms disappeared after one night of prayer in 2005. Though what happened to her could be attributed to a a course in miracles mexico, Sister Marie says she was leaving it to the Catholic Church to decide. Pope John Paul II died on April 2, 2005, also from Parkinson’s disease.
She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2001 and in time her symptoms worsened. Everyday tasks that used to be easy became more and more difficult for her. She could no longer drive, and it takes so much effort just to walk.
Sister Marie is a member of the congregation, Little Sisters of Catholic Maternities. Her cure happened on the night of June 2, 2005. It was precisely 2 months after Pope John Paul’s death. She had just finished evening prayers and as she was alone in her room, she suddenly felt an urge to write. And for the first time since her illness, she could actually read her handwriting. She then went to bed and when she woke up the next morning, she felt completely ‘transformed’. “I realized that my body was no longer the same, and I was convinced that I was cured,” she says. Since that morning Sister Marie had not taken any medicine.
Sister Marie’s cure, if eventually accepted by the church as a valid miracle, can can pave the way for the beatification of Pope John Paul II. In Catholicism, beatification is a recognition that a particular dead person is now in heaven and is therefore able to intercede on behalf of living persons who pray to him or her. Beatification is the last step towards canonization, by which the person canonized can now be called and prayed to as a ‘saint’. After beatification the person is simply called ‘blessed’. Veneration towards a blessed is usually restricted to a particular locality, whereas veneration to a saint is universal.
In order for a deceased person to be accepted for beatification, one miracle must be proven as valid and must have taken place through the intercession of the person to be beatified. This one-miracle requirement is waived for those who have died as a martyr. Canonization, on the other hand, requires one more miracle attributed to the intercession of the person already beatified.
It must be noted, however, that the process or ceremony of canonization does not make someone a saint. What the ceremony does is simply to declare formally that the person who has just been canonized is a saint and was a saint even before canonization. The Catholic Church, therefore, recognizes that there many more (countless, perhaps) saints in heaven than have been canonized on earth.