Two Popes, two saints, two books
Of the many books written on Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, two not only affirm the cause for sainthood for both but also highlight unknown facts of their spirituality and character.
Author-columnist Patricia Treece, who formerly wrote The Tidings’ “Saints Alive” column and has written extensively on saints, offers “Nothing Short of a Miracle: God’s Healing Power in Modern Saints” (Sophia Institute, 2013), stories of both famous persons and lesser-known healings.
The chapter on John Paul II is appropriately entitled: “Make Him a Saint Now!”, the chant shouted by the effusive crowd in St. Peter’s Square when news of his death was announced on April 2, 2005. She graphically details the two miracles that occurred through the pope’s intercession — that of a French nun dramatically cured of Parkinson’s disease and a Costa Rican woman who was cured of a cerebral aneurysm.
With her descriptions authenticated with medical evidence and numerous footnotes, Treece deftly illustrates the connection between the cure and religious fervor. “A miracle is also never just for the individual who receives it,” she states.
Moreover, she adds, “What does a saint like better — after God — than bringing God’s help to a brother of sister in need?”
In “The Good Pope” (HarperOne, 2012), Greg Tobin describes Pope John XXIII as a “megawatt celebrity in the age of secular saints…but there was nothing glamorous about him, even in his papal vestments he carried himself like the son of Italian farmers.” The pope’s ascent of a “convivial backwater diplomat from rural Italy to the most powerful office in Christianity,” says Tobin, was a tribute to his good humor, spiritual life and varied experiences, particularly when he called for the historical Vatican Council.
Blessed John Paul II beatified the “Good Pope” in 2000. The one recorded miracle for his cause was that of Sister Caerina Capitani who suffered from severe internal hemorrhages and was miraculously healed through his intersession. In 2013, Pope Francis waived the requirement of a second miracle.
Both books offer more than just a biography of the two popes. They inspire and present spiritual insights of two men who achieved world acclaim but were also sincere souls, relying on God and tirelessly working for His Church.