John Paul II was not just a former Pope; he is also a saint. For a person to be canonized into a saint, there has to be two miracles attributed to them after their death.
In this post, we discuss the two miracles that Pope John Paul II performed.
What You'll Learn Today
Who Is John Paul II?
Let’s start with a quick introduction of John Paul II and why he is one of the most important figures in the Catholic Church. So much so that the Church did not wait the usual five years to start the review process for canonization.
John Paul II was the second longest serving Pope in the Catholic Church after Pope Pius IX. He served for about 26 years starting from October 1978 to April 2005.
John Paul II is best known for his active involvement in political activism around the world. He traveled more than any other Pope, championing peace and human rights wherever he went including his home country, Poland.
He also, to the surprise of many, offered apologies for Catholic involvement in various tragedies including the holocaust (he apologized for the church’s inaction and silence), the African slave trade and violation of women’s rights.
When Was John Paul II Made A Saint?
Normally, there is a 5-year waiting period before the Church considers making someone a saint. But Pope Benedict XVI (John Paul II’s successor), waived that requirement for Pope John Paul II citing the Pope’s popularity and the widespread consensus that he was a holy man.
Review for his canonization started just a month after his death.
However, even with this waiver, the canonization process takes years. It follows a number of strict steps.
The first is to be declared a ‘servant of God’. This occurs after it has been ascertained that the person lived a sufficiently holy life.
The second is to grant them the ‘venerable’ title, affirming that they lived a heroic and virtuous life. Pope John Paul II was declared ‘venerable’ on December 19, 2009.
The third step is beatification. For a person to be beatified, there has to be at least one miracle attributed to prayers made to that person after their death.
The ‘after death’ part is important. It shows that the person is in heaven and interceding for believers on earth. After all, we pray to saints to intercede for us. So we have to be sure someone is in heaven before they are canonized.
The first miracle attributed to the intercession by John Paul II was that of a French nun healed from Parkinson’s. We’ll discuss it in more detail below.
Once the Church confirms the authenticity of a miracle, the person can be beatified. John Paul II was beatified on May 1, 2011.
The final step is canonization. This requires a second miracle. Again, it has to be attributed to prayers made to that person after their death. The only exception is martyrs. Only one miracle is required for their canonization.
Pope John Paul II’s second miracle was that of a Costa Rican woman who was cured from a serious brain aneurysm.
With the confirmation of the second miracle, Pope John Paul II was canonized on April 27, 2014, nine years after his death.
His official title now is Pope Saint John Paul II.
The Two Miracles of Pope John Paul II
The Healing of a French Nun from Parkinson’s Disease
In 2005, the French nun, Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. After the death of John Paul II, who also had Parkinson’s, Sister Marie’s congregation prayed to the former Pope to intercede on behalf of the nun.
On a particularly tortuous evening in June, she wrote John Paul II’s name on a piece of paper. Later that night, she woke up no longer in pain. By the next day, she believed she was cured. Her neurologist even declared her free of the disease.
The Church investigated the incident and declared that it had met the requirements of a miracle – it was sudden, inexplicable, complete and permanent. With the confirmation of this miracle, Pope John Paul II could be beatified.
The Healing of a Costa Rican Lawyer from Brain Aneurysm
The second miracle attributed to intercession by John Paul II is that of a Costa Rican lawyer, Floribeth Mora Diaz, who had an incurable cerebral aneurysm.
Diaz was a big admirer of the late John Paul II. So when she was given just a month to live, she prayed and asked for his intercession.
She claims to have been healed on the day John Paul II was beatified.
The Vatican again investigated her claim and found it to be true. With the second confirmed miracle, John Paul II qualified for canonization.
Are There Other Miracles Pope John Paul II Performed?
It is likely that there are other miracles that were performed by John Paul II either while he was alive or after death through intercession.
But so far, only two miracles have been confirmed by the Vatican.
It takes a long time and a lot of work to investigate and confirm the authenticity of a miracle. That’s probably why the Vatican has not checked other claims beyond the two required for sainthood.
If you’re interested in learning more about pope’s life, check out this article about the pope’s daily duties.