ROME, APRIL 1, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is the testimony of Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, a 46-year-old religious of the Little Sisters of Catholic Motherhood, who attributes her healing from Parkinson’s disease to the intercession of Pope John Paul II. The translation of the text comes from the postulator of the cause for the Pontiff’s beatification.
On Monday, the second anniversary of the Pope’s death, the diocesan phase of his process of beatification will close.
* * *
I was diagnosed in June 2001. The disease struck the left side of my body, causing very serious difficulties for me, given that I was left-handed. After three years, the initial stage of the illness that was slowly progressive, the symptoms began to get worse: an increase in tremors, rigidity, pain, sleeplessness.
Starting on April 2, 2005, I began to worsen from week to week. I was wasting away, day by day. I was no longer able to write (being left-handed, as I said), or, if I tried to, what I wrote was barely legible. I was no longer able to drive a car, except for very short distances, because my left leg sometimes got blocked, even for long periods, and rigidity made driving difficult. In addition, to do my work in the hospital, I always needed more time. I was totally exhausted.
After the diagnosis it was difficult for me to follow John Paul II on television. However, I felt very close to him in prayer and I knew that he could understand what I was living through. I admired his strength and courage and they stimulated me to not give up and to love this suffering. Only love would give meaning to all of this. It was a daily struggle, but my only wish was to live it in faith and to adhere with love to the Father’s will.
It was Easter 2005, and I wanted to see our Holy Father on television because I knew, deep within me, that it would be the last time I would be able to do so. All morning long I prepared myself for that “encounter” (he reminded me of what I would be in three years). It was hard for me, being so young. However, an unexpected occurrence at work did not allow me to see him.
The evening of April 2, 2005, the entire community had gathered to participate in the prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square, live on French television from the diocese of Paris (KTO). At the announcement of John Paul’s death, my entire world fell apart. I had lost the only friend who could understand me and give me strength to go forward. In those days I felt a great emptiness, but I also had the certainty of his living presence.
On May 13, feast of Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Benedict XVI officially announced the special dispensation for the start of the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God, John Paul II. Starting on May 14, my fellow sisters from all the French and African communities started asking John Paul II to intercede for my healing. They prayed incessantly, tirelessly, right up to the news of my healing.
I was on vacation at the time. On May 26, having ended a period of rest, I returned to the community, totally exhausted because of my disease. “If you believe, you will see the glory of God”: this was the verse from the Gospel of St. John that, since May 14, had kept me company. But on June 1, I could not take it any longer! I had to struggle just to stay on my feet and walk.
On June 2, in the afternoon, I went to find my superior to ask her to release me from my work. She asked me to try to resist awhile longer, until the return from Lourdes in August, and added: “John Paul II has not yet said his final word.” He was surely present at that encounter that took place in such peace and serenity. Then, my superior held out a pen and asked me to write “John Paul II.” It was 5 p.m.
With difficulty I wrote “John Paul II.” As I looked at the illegible writing, I remained some time in silence. And the day passed as it usually did.
At 9 p.m., after evening prayer, I left my office to go to my room. I felt the need to take a pen and write, as if someone had ordered me, “Take your pen and write.” It was 9:30/9:45 p.m.
And my handwriting was perfectly legible! Astonishing! I lay on my bed, amazed.
Exactly two months has passed since John Paul II returned to the house of the Father. I awoke at 4:30, amazed at having been able to sleep. I suddenly got out of bed: My body was no longer painful, there was no rigidity and inside, I was no longer the same.
Then, an inner call and a strong desire to go and pray before the Blessed Sacrament. I went into the oratory and stayed in adoration. I felt a profound sense of peace and well-being; an experience that was too great, a mystery, difficult to explain with words.
Still in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I mediated on the Mysteries of Light composed by John Paul II. At 6 in the morning, I left to join my fellow sisters in the chapel for a moment of prayer followed by the Eucharistic celebration. I had to walk about 50 meters and at that moment I became aware that, as I was walking, my left arm was swinging by my side. It was no longer immobile. I also felt a lightness and a physical agility that I had not experienced for quite some time.
During the Eucharistic celebration, I was filled with joy and peace. It was June 3, feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As we left Mass, I was sure that I was healed. My hand no longer trembled. I went again to write and at noon I suddenly stopped taking my medicine.
On June 7, as scheduled, I went to see the neurologist who had been caring for me for four years. He, too, was very surprised as he noted the sudden disappearance of all the symptoms of the disease, notwithstanding the interruption of treatment for five days prior to the visit. A day later, our superior general asked all of our communities to give thanks. Every community then began a novena to John Paul II.
It has now been 10 months since any kind of treatment has been given. I have resumed working normally, I have no difficulty in writing and I even drive the car for long distances. I feel as if I have been reborn: It is a new life because it is not like before.
Today I can say that the friend who left our earth is now closer to my heart. He made grow within me the desire for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and love for the Eucharist, which have a place of priority in my daily life.
What the Lord has allowed me to live through the intercession of John Paul II is a great mystery, difficult to explain in words … but nothing is impossible for God.
And it is indeed true: “If you believe, you will see the glory of God.”
[Translation distributed by the postulator of the cause for beatification; adapted here]