Floribeth Mora, the Costa Rican woman whose inexplicable
curing of her medical condition has been attributed to a
miracle by Pope John Paul II, embraces her husband Edwin
Arce. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
Suffering a potentially fatal swelling in the brain,
Costa Rican grandmother Floribeth Mora says a voice spoke to
her through a photograph of the late Pope John Paul II,
miraculously curing her and sealing the late pontiff's
The Vatican said today Pope Francis had approved Mora's cure
as the requisite second miracle for the sainthood of John
Paul II, who led the Roman Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005.
Mora says she was diagnosed with an aneurysm in a cerebral
artery on April 14, 2011 and sent home from the hospital with
the warning she could be dead within a month, although the
surgeon who made the diagnosis denies he gave such a warning.
According to Mora, she drifted off to sleep in the early
hours of May 1, 2011 after watching a mass on television to
mark the beatification of John Paul II, who died in 2005.
She says she prayed to the late pope to heal her, and when
she awoke, her eyes fell on a picture of him she had on top
of the television.
"I woke up when I heard a voice that said 'get up,'" Mora,
now 50, said on Friday at the Roman Catholic Church's
administrative offices in San Jose, showing the clipping. "I
was alone in my room, I only had this clipping that was
published around those dates to commemorate John Paul II's
"I had it in front of me and I heard a voice again that said
'get up' and I looked at his photo and saw his open arms and
I heard a voice that said 'be not afraid' and I said 'Yes
Lord,'" she added between tears, a golden rosary hanging
around her neck.
"I went to my husband and he asked me what I was doing and I
just said 'I feel fine, I feel fine, I feel fine.'"
In a written statement distributed by the Church, Mora said
she had been warned that she likely only had a short time to
"I was even warned that it would not be more than a month,"
The neurosurgeon who admitted and diagnosed Mora, however,
denies he gave her a month to live. Alejandro Vargas says he
forecast only a 2 percent chance Mora could bleed into her
brain again within a year of her diagnosis, possibly killing
"She was sent home with medication that would reduce her
blood pressure and was advised to improve her diet so as not
to raise her cholesterol levels and thus decrease the chance
of her having a second bleeding episode. She was sedated
because the headaches were too sharp," he told Reuters. "We
didn't send her home to be sedated and wait until she died in
However, Vargas cannot explain how Mora's aneurysm
"What we found remarkable, unbelievable really, was that by
November there was absolutely no trace in her brain that she
ever had an aneurysm," he said. "I had never seen this in my
Before he was beatified, the late John Paul had already been
credited with asking God to cure a French nun of Parkinson's
disease, the same malady he himself had suffered from.
Mora lives in a small house in the eastern province of
Cartago, around 23 km southeast of the capital, San Jose,
with her husband, Carlos Arce, and their youngest child.
On the doorstep of their small, tidy house, she has erected a
shrine to John Paul II.
A large printed image of the first Polish pope is decorated
with colorful plastic flowers and Christmas lights. Resting
on the pope's portrait is a piece of paper confirming the
diagnosis of her aneurysm.
Not everyone accepts her accounts as a miracle, her husband
"We've faced a lot of non-believers these last two years," he
A few days ago, their youngest son showed his mother some
posts on Facebook from people who didn't believe that what
happened to her was an act of God.
"It's been very hard on her, those messages did nothing but
make her cry," Arce said.