Pope approves Blessed Josemaria Escriva miracle
() - December 22, 2001 - 12:00am
Pope John Paul II has approved a decree on a miracle of Blessed Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei. The decree was issued by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

The miracle was the healing of Doctor Manuel Nevado from an incurable disease (chronic radiodermatitis), which disappeared in November 1992.

Radiodermatitis is a disease of doctors whose hands have been exposed to radiation from X-ray machines over a long period of time. It is a progressive disease that evolves inexorably and causes the appearance of skin cancers. Radiodermatitis has no cure. The only known treatments are surgical (skin grafts, and amputation of the affected parts of the hand). In the medical literature up to now, no case of spontaneous healing from cancerous chronic radiodermatitis has ever been recorded.

Nevado, 69, is a Spanish doctor. A specialist in orthopedic surgery, he operated on fractures and other injuries, exposing his hands to X-rays since 1956. The first symptoms of radiodermatitis began to appear in 1962 and the disease progressed steadily. By 1984 he had to limit his activities to minor operations because his hands were gravely affected. He stopped operating completely in the summer of 1992. He did not undergo any treatment.

In November 1992, Nevado met Luis Eugenio Bernardo, an agricultural engineer working for a Spanish government department. On hearing about his disease, Bernardo offered him a prayer card of the founder of Opus Dei, who had been beatified on May 17 that year. Bernardo encouraged him to pray for a cure for his radiodermatitis.

Nevado began praying for a cure through the intercession of Blessed Josemaria. A few days after that meeting he flew to Vienna with his wife in order to attend a medical conference. They visited several churches and found there prayer cards of Blessed Josemaria. "This impressed me," explained Nevado "and encouraged me to pray more for my cure."

From the day that he began to entrust his cure to the intercession of Blessed Josemaria, his hands began to get better. Some two weeks later the lesions disappeared. He was completely cured. In January 1993, Nevado was able to return to carrying out surgical operations without any problem.

The canonical process to evaluate this miracle took place in the archdiocese of Badajoz, Spain where Nevado lives. It was concluded in 1994. On July 10, 1997, the Medical Committee of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints unanimously established the following diagnosis: "a cancerous state of chronic radiodermatitis in its third and irreversible stage" and with a prognosis of "infaust" (without hope of a cure). The cure of the lesions, confirmed by the objective examinations carried on the patient in 1992, 1994 and 1997, was declared by the Medical Committee to be "very rapid, complete, lasting, and scientifically inexplicable."

On Jan. 9, 1998, the Holy See’s Committee of Theologians gave its unanimous approval for attributing the miracle to Blessed Josemaria. The Ordinary Congregation of Cardinals and Bishops confirmed these conclusions on September 21, 2001.

Approval of the miracle means that all the formal requirements for canonization have been completed. The remaining steps are for the Vatican to set a date for the canonization ceremony and for the Pope to solemnly proclaims that the Blessed is to be included among the Saints.

Detailed information about the miracle can be found on the Web site, www.opusdei.org. More news about the miracle will be posted in the coming days.

Opus Dei is a personal prelature of the Catholic Church. The Latin name means "Work of God." Opus Dei’s mission is to foster a deep awareness of the universal call to holiness among men and women of all walks of life.

There are 84,000 members of Opus Dei worldwide. Opus Dei began its apostolic activities in the Philippines in 1964.

The year 2002 marks the centenary of Br. Josemaria Escriva, who was born in Spain on Jan. 9, 1902. He was ordained priest in 1925. He founded Opus Dei in 1928, and died in Rome in 1975. Nearly 1,300 bishops — more than a third of the bishops in the world — asked the Vatican to begin the process of his canonization. He was beatified in 1992.

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