People give witness to ways Pope John Paul changed, saved their lives

VATICAN CITY - Hundreds of people have been giving public witness to the ways Pope John Paul II changed or even saved their lives.

Men and women of all ages and nationalities have sent personal stories to www.karol-wojtyla.org -- a website run by the Diocese of Rome dedicated to the late pope's beatification and canonization.

As of April 28, the multi-lingual site published more than 400 testimonies from people sharing the ways they feel Pope John Paul interceded on their behalf or brought them back to the church.

Many are notes of thanks for prayers answered, such as a risky surgery gone well or troubles in the family resolved.

Others are personal accounts of meeting or seeing the pope during one of his many trips abroad and the feeling of being in the presence of a holy and charismatic man. Others were influenced by the way Pope John Paul reached out to people in every walk of life.

One woman wrote that she was driven to prostitution to support her family and had lost her faith in God. "I ask for pardon ... in a moment of anger, I tore your picture to pieces," she wrote.

She implored the late pope to "always be near me. I ask you this. I don't have anyone but you! Please help me find my faith again. I will continue to speak with you. I love you."

Some tell of miraculous healings from illnesses like multiple sclerosis or lung cancer. There is even the testimony of the French nun whose healing was accepted as the miracle needed for Pope John Paul's May 1 beatification.

Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, a member of the Little Sisters of the Catholic Motherhood, had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and believes she was cured in 2005 through the Polish pope's intercession. Her story recounts the debilitating progression of her disease, the miraculous healing, and how her new life has left her with a new love for the Eucharist and a devotion to the holy sacrament.

One man from Calgary, Canada, wrote about being trapped underwater after a helicopter carrying 20 workers crashed into the Persian Gulf. He said that, inexplicably, he found himself alive and floating on the water's surface even though he hadn't been able to unlatch himself from the seat straps.

He said he was one of eight people to survive the crash. Even his rosary, which he kept locked in his briefcase, was recovered.

"Personally I believe that the sainthood of John Paul II and his prayers also on my behalf to the God Almighty saved my life," he wrote.

A writer from Barentu, Eritrea, who was living in Rome said his mother and uncle were cured thanks to prayers to Pope John Paul after doctors had given up on them. The writer said he used to pray at Pope John Paul's tomb and cry.

One year, a day after the anniversary of the pope's death, he phoned his relatives in Eritrea to find that his mother and uncle were fine. The family now prays the rosary in a chapel that another relative built out of straw, he wrote.

There are stories of miraculous births after infertility or repeated miscarriages, and the tale of an Italian child prodigy named Karol who, the mother said, would have died at birth because of severe medical complications, if not for the intercession of Pope John Paul.

Today, the child is 4 years old, and "the miracle isn't over," she wrote in April.

He knows the multiplication table up to the number 14, can count backwards and do fractions, and he can name and identify on a map major cities in Italy and capitals of the world, she wrote.

"Obviously I can't list everything he knows and the beautiful thing is no one ever forced him. It's like a game for him. I don't know about you, but I still see the pope's blessings day after day," said the mother.


-CNS


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