Pope John Paul II 'cured' nun from beyond the grave

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

A French nun has spoken publicly of her "miraculous" cure from Parkinson's disease which the Vatican last week officially declared to have been an "intercession" from beyond the grave by Pope John Paul II.

Sister Marie Simon-Pierre's abrupt recovery in 2005 from the crippling symptoms of the incurable disease will be one of the principal justifications for the "fast-track" beatification of the late pope in Rome on 1 May.

At her first full press conference, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, 49, said that she had woken on 3 June 2005 – three months after John Paul's death – "completely transformed. I felt an interior peace and strength, like a second birth." The "intense pain" and shaking that had forced her to retire from her job as a maternity nurse had "completely disappeared", she said.

The nun said that she had always felt "spiritually close" to the Polish pope, who had also suffered from Parkinson's disease. Just before facing the press, she said: "I asked him to stand close by me."

In May 2005, her order, the Little Sisters of Maternity, started to pray to the recently deceased pope for her recovery. On 2 June, she said, her superior told her that she should not despair because, "John Paul II has not said his last word". That night, she had a "sudden urge to write and was surprised to be able to do so without trembling". She woke clear of all symptoms. She went to her superior again and said: "I am cured. I have been cured by John Paul II's intercession."

After an investigation by a medical and religious commission appointed by the Vatican, the nun's experiences were officially declared a miracle last year. As a result, Pope Benedict announced last week that he would beatify his predecessor – the first step towards sainthood – in a ceremony in the Vatican on 1 May.

At least one officially recognised miracle must have been attributed to a candidate for beatification. The ceremony will be the most rapid to be recorded in the two millennia of church history, breaking Mother Teresa of Calcutta's achievement in 2003.

A "miracle" can only be declared after senior doctors appointed by the Church have certified that there has been an "instant cure" from serious illness that cannot be explained in any other way. Neurological specialists say that Parkinson's disease, per se, is incurable but that patients can sometimes have "Parkinson's-type symptoms" which disappear.

Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, who has been shielded from the press until now, smiled shyly but spoke confidently during her appearance in the archbishop's palace in Aix-en-Provence. She remained, she insisted, an ordinary person who had "never doubted" that John Paul II had interceded on her behalf.

"Why me? That remains a great mystery. There were no doubt many people, including children, who were sicker than me. I can't explain it. We are just the servants of life."

Pope's path to sainthood

During his time as Pope, John Paul II beatified more than 1,300 people – more than all of his predecessors combined. It is the first step towards sainthood and requires that a miracle has taken place. A second one is required for sainthood.

For John Paul II, Pope Benedict waived the five-year period before the process can begin. The analysis of a miracle rests with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The Vatican issued stricter rules in 2008 after complaints that the Congregation was becoming a"saint factory".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas