Pope Francis may yet earn the accolade "The Healing Pope" for the miracles he has been performing when touching people with serious health problems.
When the Pope flew to New York last week as part of his six-day apostolic visit to the United States, he once again showed his healing power when he blessed a 12-year-old girl who was one of those who greeted him at JFK Airport, The Gospel Herald said.
Julia Bruzzese of Brooklyn, New York was in a wheelchair when the smiling Pope stopped by, touched her face and blessed her. She had been using the wheelchair ever since she suffered a sudden paralysis whose cause puzzled her doctors no end.
Her doctors said she seemed to exhibit symptoms of Lyme disease. But the problem was that her blood tests showed she was negative for that disease.
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Early symptoms of the inflammatory Lyme disease include a rash, headache, fever, and chills, according to WebMD. The sufferer then develops arthritis and neurological and cardiac disorders. The disease is caused by bacteria transmitted by ticks, according to the medical website.
While her doctors were still trying to figure out what exactly caused her paralysis, Julia, together with her mother Josephine, decided to meet Pope Francis, hoping and praying for a miracle to enable her to walk again.
"[Meeting the pope was] the most precious moment of my life," the young girl said.
Josephine recalled the moment when the Pope saw and approached them. "He looked me right in the eyes; I kissed his hand and thanked him, and I walked away [saying] 'she's gonna be okay,'" Josephine said.
Five days later, the doctors decided to subject Julia to another blood test. To their utter surprise, they finally found the cause of her ailment. Their initial suspicion turned out to be right—she had Lyme disease, an ailment that can easily be treated with medication.
"The miracle has begun," Julia said. "Yesterday, I went to the doctor and for the first time they saw Lyme disease activity in my blood, and that just shows a miracle can happen if you believe, just like I did. If you believe and pray everything can happen."
In another interview with NBC New York, Julia said she is now brimming with optimism that she will be able to walk again soon. "I know I will walk again because of him [Pope Francis]," she said.
Julia is already starting to plan her activities once she gets to walk again. She said she wants to play softball and soccer again and sing in the choir as well.
"It's unfortunate that this has happened. This experience has made me wiser, made me look at life in a different perspective. Life is precious," she said.
Performing miracles is nothing new to Pope Francis. Last March, authorities attested that he turned the dried blood of St. Gennaro into liquid in Naples, Italy.
Just last month before he began his visits to Cuba and the US, Pope Francis abruptly stopped his motorcade in the rain and asked his aide to bring to him the baby he saw being lifted at the barricade by her parents at St. Peter's Square. The Pope briefly placed his palm on the chest of the three-month-old girl who was suffering from Down's syndrome and had two holes in her heart.
Later when the doctors checked on the baby, they found one of the two holes had completely closed while the other one was reduced to half its former size.
Lynn Cassidy, the mother of the baby, told the Washington Post, that what happened to her child made her believe that "God can act through the pope's blessings in miraculous ways."