Pope John Paul II’s canonization in Rome has great local significance for Costa Ricans. On April 27 the former pope, who died in 2005, will be put into sainthood by Pope Francis at a Mass in St. Peter’s Square.
In anticipation of the ceremony, a book released this week details the sudden recovery of Floribeth Mora Días from what doctors told her was an irreversible condition. “El Milagro Costarricense de Juan Pablo II” by Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki recounts the purported medical miracle that cured Ms. Mora of a brain aneurysm and has now been recognized by the Vatican.
The cure is one of two miracles that are required for someone to be declared a saint.
When Ms. Mora was diagnosed with the aneurysm, doctors told her an operation was too dangerous for risk of paralyzing her or putting her into a long coma. She was given a prescription and told to return home.
Upon seeing a picture of the late pope in 2011, she prayed to him to relieve her constant pain. In a matter of days, Ms. Mora claimed she felt like the aneurysm was gone. When she went to the doctor at Hospital Calderón Guardia her seemingly outlandish suspicion was proven true by magnetic resonance results that showed the enlarged portion of a vessel in her brain had returned to normal size for the first time in years.
The book, which further describes Ms. Mora’s story, is currently available in Librería Internacional for 9,900 colons. She is expected to make the journey to Italy with her family for the Mass.
The former pope’s introduction into sainthood is also drawing many other Costa Ricans to the Vatican City. A number of Costa Rican travel agencies are offering big travel packages to take a trip through Rome and other select European destinations, like John Paul II’s home country of Poland.
Randall Mora, who is heading the canonization package for Terra Nova travel agency, said that 36 people are traveling through his group. The 21-day trip includes stops in Madrid, Florence, Italy, and Krakow, Poland, on top of four days in Rome. The inclusive vacation costs travelers $7,650.
Another local travel agency, Dandeleon, is also doing an 18-day travel package with a large group that costs $4,662 per person.
Pope John XXIII, who served as pope from 1958 to 1968, will also be canonized in the same procession.
John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla before he became the first Polish pope, visited Costa Rica in 1983. A bridge on a major highway bears his name. A greater than life-sized marble statue of the pope stands outside the Catedral Metropolitana.
Coincidentally the miracle happened at the time that the beatification of John Paul was taking place. That is the initial step to sainthood.
John Paul was put on a fast track to sainthood when the Vatican quickly removed the five-year waiting period shortly after his death. One miracle is required for beatification according to Vatican rules.
The miracles are studied in detail by a Vatican department set up just for that purpose.
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff