A nun who was crippled for nearly forty years totally recovered after making a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, prompting a bishop to declare it a miracle.
Bishop Jacque Benoit-Gonin of the Beauvais diocese in France declared the healing of Bernadette Moriau an official miracle on Sunday, according to The Associated Press. Moriau’s healing took place 10 years ago and is now the 70th instance of divine healing at Lourdes that the Catholic Church officially recognizes.
Moriau claimed that, on her return from the shrine at Lourdes, she heard a voice that told her to take off her leg braces. She did so and found that she could suddenly walk without any assistance. Lourde has been known to Catholics as a place of miracles since 1858, when a 14-year-old peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous claimed that she saw a vision of the Virgin Mary in a cave at Lourdes. The church constructed a shrine at the site, near the southwest mountains of France, and since then thousands of pilgrims have claimed to receive miraculous healing after visiting the shrine, though the church has only officially recognized 70 of these instances, according to The Guardian.
The Vatican’s Miracle Commission decides whether or not a claim of miraculous healing actually meets the church’s criteria to be considered a true miracle. Michael O’Neill, who runs the website Miracle Hunter, told Live Science that according to the Vatican the healing must be “spontaneous, instantaneous and complete healing. Doctors have to say, ‘We don’t have any natural explanation of what happened.'”
Monsignor Jacques Perrier, the former bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, tried to institute reforms for the criteria of miracles in 2006 in order to give recognition to potentially thousands of other cases of healing in which God may have intervened. His reforms would have accounted for and acknowledged God’s hand in modern medicine and medical advances, and would have created new categories for miracles, such as unexpected healings, confirmed healings, and exceptional healings. Perrier said this would allow for the church to recognize miraculous healings from cancer in cases where the subjects have also had medical treatment for the cancer. So far, however, the Vatican has remained resolute on its criteria for official miraculous healings.
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