An American couple went to the Vatican last year to see Pope Francis in hopes that their 3-month-old daughter Ave would be blessed during their visit. What happened on their trip to Italy during Easter was nothing short of miraculous because the pope healed the sick baby, according to Ave's mother Lynn Cassidy. She told Phoenix news station KPNX that, prior to their trip, Ave had two holes in her heart, of major concern to the family. Over a year later, her heart is now completely healthy. Cassidy says that the effects of Pope Francis holding Ave were apparent almost immediately:
The pope asked my husband, "How old is she? What's her name?" He told (the pope) she has two holes in her heart. When we got home in May, we went back to the cardiologist for a check-up. One of the holes was completely closed and one was half the size.
This miracle could make Pope Francis eligible for sainthood, which would put the current pontiff in the same medical miracle footsteps of Pope John Paul II. It was a vision of the former pope that healed Floribeth Mora Diaz in 2011, whose inoperable brain aneurysm had left her bed-ridden and near death. Pope Francis declared the event a miracle in July 2013, after Mora's claim underwent intense scrutiny by the Vatican.
Many other popes have reportedly performed medical miracles as well, dating as far back as Pope Agapetus I, who healed a paralyzed man in the 6th century. The events are wholly unique and altogether incredibly rare. Still, that doesn't prevent Catholics across the world from seeking out the pope in an effort to have their prayers answered. An Ohio family has bought two tickets to see Pope Francis during his trip to the United States. FOX8 Cleveland reports the family's twin daughters have a rare genetic disorder known as congenital variant Rett syndrome. They're hoping Pope Francis will be able to help heal the girls, whose condition has impaired their motor skills as well as their overall development.
This shows the important role that the pope continues to play in the world as a healer and unifying force. Recalling the miracle that has made Ave's heart healthy, Cassidy said that she has nothing but gratitude towards Pope Francis. When asked what she'd tell the pope if she were to meet him again, she told KPNX:
Thank you for spreading the word that all life is precious. Even life that seems like it might have struggles like hers. She is as precious as anyone else. We just thank you for spreading that message, because people need to hear that.