NEW YORK TIMES - By Elaine Sciolino - March 30, 2007
PARIS, March 30 — If the story Sister Marie Simon- Pierre told Friday is true, then Pope John Paul II exercised miraculous powers from beyond the grave. A proven physical miracle is an important qualification on the road to sainthood.
Smiling and strong-voiced, the 46-year-old nun stepped out of her quiet life of prayer and good works and stood in front of a wall of cameras to proclaim that the pope cured her of Parkinson’s disease two months after his death in 2005.
“I have been cured,” she told journalists gathered for a news conference in Aix-en-Provence. “My healing was the work of God through the intercession of Pope John Paul II.”
But she refused to call her recovery a “miracle,” saying such a designation is the responsibility of the Vatican. - - -
The pope has already been put on a fast track to sainthood. Only 26 days after the pope’s death, Pope Benedict XVI, his successor, waived the five-year waiting period to begin the process of beatification, the first step toward sainthood.
But John Paul needs one verifiable miracle to be beatified, which means that one has reached heaven and can be referred to as “blessed.” Sister Marie Simon-Pierre’s case has been chosen as the first potential miracle.
A second miracle is generally required for canonization as a saint. Miracles can be waived for those who die as “Christian martyrs.” - - - -