Wojtyla, Wojtyla - help!

Artur Stelmasiak

Gloria Maria was born on the six month of pregnancy, several weeks after the Pope's death. She was lighter than a kilo of sugar, her body was red and she looked as if she had no skin. According to the medical diagnosis she had neither kidneys nor bladder, which meant no chance to survive. 'Within 30-40 minutes after the caesarean section her organism was to be intoxicated and she was to die,' says Jacek Wrona, Gloria's father, in his interview for 'Niedziela.' 'That's why when I was standing at the incubator I was convinced I was watching my child dying.'
Although the broken-hearted parents cherished some tiny hope the doctors had no illusions about the situation: hopeless. 'She was under the care of the most outstanding specialists who had the most modern equipment. And despite that they stressed that Gloria would not live. If they had given us any hope I would have moved heaven and earth but I had no right to deny the professors' words,' the father admits.
Several weeks earlier when they had learnt about the bad condition of the girl Joanna Wrona entrusted her life to God through the intercession of John Paul II. 'Every day I put his picture on my belly. On the reverse of the picture there are a prayer and handwritten sentence, "The Holy Father held this picture and blessed it thinking of the sick, Krakow, the Wawel Cathedral, 22 June 1983"' Joanna wrote in her diary. What was the effect of that prayer?
Today Gloria Maria is almost six. And despite the doctors' experiences and knowledge she is perfectly well. 'The hospital extract sounded ghastly. It was written that the girl would have poor sight and no hearing. Additionally, she had some strokes and holes in the brain and her intestines were slimed,' her father recollects. However, Gloria, born on the sixth month of pregnancy, caught up with her peers within a year. She is healthy without any medical intervention.

Relic at the little bed

The story of Gloria Maria's parents from Czestochowa was included in the acts of the beatification process of John Paul II. Their case was one of many. Just after the Pope's death an avalanche of letters started. 'These healings and graces show that believers, asking for John Paul II's support, are not left with empty hands,' stresses Fr Dr. Slawomir Oder, postulator of the cause of beatification of John Paul II, in his interview for 'Niedziela.'
Arkadiusz whose ill child was born in Opole also experienced the effectiveness of this intercession in 2007. Little Mikolaj Jozef was born with a serious defect in the nasal septum. 'The first operation was extremely difficult and dramatic; instead of four hours it lasted seven. The condition of his son was critical. The doctor fought for his life all night,' Mikolaj's father recollects. The next day it was decided that he had to undergo another operation, which could have led to the boy's death.
The desperate father brought a picture of John Paul II with 'ex endumentis,' i.e., a piece of the pope's robe, to the hospital. He put the relic at the little bed. 'Besides, we were constantly praying to the Divine Mercy through the intercession of the Servant of God John Paul II,' he confesses. Several minutes later - as the father says - a miracle happened. The pulse, blood pressure and other functions began normalising. The doctors' verdict: another operation was not needed. 'The professor stated that he did not understand it and called the whole event 'God's finger.' Whereas the head of the ward announced with joy that I should have testified about the miraculous intercession of the beloved Pope,' Arkadiusz writes.

Like in life, like after death

It is nothing new for believers that they can experience miracles and receive graces from Lord God through the intercession of the saints. The heritage of the Church abounds in such extraordinary events. Nevertheless, the case of John Paul II can be recognised as extremely effective. Why?
The answer to such a question remains a mystery. However, some pay attention to the commonly spread cult of the Polish Pope. In the whole world hundred thousand people pray through his intercession. And if they pray sincerely they receive graces. One can find another trace in the documents of the beatification process. According to the witnesses John Paul II also interceded successfully during his life and not only after his death.
The Pope's collaborators speak almost unanimously that he had an extraordinary and very close relationship with Lord God. 'I am convinced that John Paul II received a special grace of praying, which allowed him to deepen the mysteries of faith in a way that was inaccessible to ordinary people,' said one of the witnesses. 'One had the impression that he was not among us,' we can read in another testimony the fragments of which were published in Fr Slawomir Oder's book entitled 'Dlatego swiety' [Holy Because].
The witnesses are convinced that John Paul II talked to God and while praying he both listened to the answers to the questions that tormented him and interceded in the intentions he had received from all over the world. 'The drawer of his kneeler was filled with requests directed to him,' recollects Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz. 'There were many letters from childless couples who wrote to the Pope again thanking him after their prayers had been heard.'
Hundreds of testimonies of those who think that the Pope's prayers were extremely effective have been sent to Fr Oder's office. For example, Urszula Woznica from Rydultowy in the region of Silesia is convinced of her miraculous healing and spiritual support of John Paul II. Her medical diagnosis was like a death sentence. 'Then I wrote to the Pope asking him to pray for me,' she tells the editorial board of 'Niedziela.' Despite the doctors' warnings she decided to go to Rome for a meeting with John Paul II. When she came back home she found a letter from the papal chancellery assuring her of the Pope's prayer. But the greatest joy awaited her in the doctor's office. 'To my greatest surprise the doctor told me that I was healthy and he did not understand the reason why,' Mrs Woznica says emotionally.
Mr Ugo Festa (40) from Italy experienced an even more spectacular healing. He had spent all his life in a wheelchair. He suffered from multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and epilepsy. A few days after he had met the Pope he felt warmth throughout his body and heard Jesus say, 'Stand up and walk!' Since that time Festa has moved without his wheelchair and as a volunteer he helps the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Theresa of Calcutta, in India and Africa.

Specialist in conversions

The bulletin 'Totus Tuus' published by the postulator includes testimonies of physical healings and numerous spiritual graces. In Fr Oder's opinion conversions were also the Pope's speciality. Benedetta from Italy must be convinced of that. She speaks about her return to the Church using only the category of 'miracle.' She has reasons for that because for 30 years until John Paul II's death she was a fervent atheist. She ignored God, the Church and the Pope. Only when she heard about the Holy Father's death she cried to her surprise. And for the first time in her life she had no doubts: God exists. 'It was him. Karol, that managed to convince me of that,' Benedetta admits. 'I ignored his teachings so many times and finally, this old stubborn man led me to God.'
Another testimony reports that John Paul II saved a sailor from an inevitable death. It was written by Janusz from New York who set off on a lonely voyage around the world in 2005. His dream was not fulfilled because several days after leaving the port a storm tore all the sails. Although the thrifty sailor fixed new sails another storm struck his boat four days later. Then the damages were bigger: the deck, rudder and whole electronic equipment. From that moment Janusz could only drift. He saw ships and cutters passing but none could make a radio contact with him. They did not hear his shouts, either. After two month drifting he ran out of water, food and gas. He began shouting in despair, 'Wojtyla, Wojtyla, help me!' When he got out to the deck the next day he saw a ship passing nearby. He began shouting and ringing the bell. It helped. Earlier he had not been a practicing Catholic. Now he admits that he is convinced that he owes his life to Karol Wojtyla.

One miracle is enough

Only one miracle through the intercession of the candidate for the altars is sufficient for the cause for beatification. That's why only one case of healing from Parkinson disease of the French nun Marie Simon-Pierre was thoroughly examined by the medical and ecclesiastical commissions. The remaining miracles are only testimonies, which does not mean that they were not real miracles. If all healings through the intercession of John Paul II had been so scrupulously examined the process would have never ended. Nevertheless, the traces of other graces are of great value. 'It would be too bad if these healings were forgotten,' Fr Oder thinks. That's why during the whole beatification process the most interesting cases were scrupulously gathered and published. 'They are extremely moving testimonies of spiritual healings, liberations from addictions, healings of spiritual hurts, reconciliations in families. Many cases relate to ordinary situations of life. For instance, someone asked for the grace of finding a job or receiving a flat,' Fr Oder explains.
The postulator appeals to believers to send him information about new potential miracles through the intercession of Blessed Pope John Paul II. 'Let us not forget that beatification is only a stage of the process when we await the great day on which the Church will be able to raise him to the altars as a saint,' Fr Oder stresses.
We need only one miracle. 'One should pray and be watchful since it can happen at any moment,' the postulator emphasizes.

"Niedziela" 18/2011

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl