SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — A Costa Rican woman whose brain aneurysm reportedly disappeared after she prayed to Pope John Paul II broke down in tears Friday as she publicly spoke for the first time about the church-confirmed miracle underlying John Paul's case for sainthood.
With tears in her eyes, 50-year-old Floribeth Mora described how she was sent home with pain medicine but no apparent hope for treatment, thinking she was going to die after her 2011 aneurysm diagnosis.
Mora, who owns a private security business with her husband, said she woke up on April 8, 2011, with a strong headache and went to a hospital in the nearby city of Cartago, where she was diagnosed with a severe migraine.
The pain lasted for three days and Mora returned to the hospital, where a series of tests revealed an aneurysm on the right side of her brain that had begun to hemorrhage, according to her attending physician, Alejandro Vargas.
Doctors were unable to stop the bleeding, and Vargas consulted colleagues in other Latin American countries and Spain, who advised against operating because of the difficult access to the affected area.
"The risk for Floribeth was death, or ending up with significant neurological damage," Dr. Vargas said Friday.
"I returned home with the horror of imminent death. Seeing my children walking by looking at me, standing beside my bed, seeing my husband making himself strong, taking my hand and crossing himself every night, it was very sad," Mora said.
Her family built an altar to John Paul II outside her house, and while Mora was watching the late pope's beatification on May 1, 2011, she picked up a magazine and, looking at a photo of the pope, starting to hear a voice.
"It said, 'Get up, don't be afraid,' " Mora said.
Mora said she stood up and felt instantly better, and a variety of medical exams revealed that her aneurysm had simply disappeared.
The first miracle credited to John Paul II was the curing of a French nun, Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, of Parkinson's disease, the same malady from which the pontiff suffered.