April 30th, 2011
04:10 PM ET

Chicago family credits Pope John Paul II with personal miracle

By Elizabeth Chmurak, CNN
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(CNN) - Christopher Lukasik was building shelves when a metal rod hit his eye, tearing about a third of his optic nerve fibers and leaving everybody from his doctors to his family wondering whether he would ever see again.

Lukasik's mother began to pray to Pope John Paul II, who will be beatified Sunday. The ceremony at Vatican City is the penultimate step towards the late pontiff's sainthood.

"All I could think about is to pray to Pope John Paul II. I just felt him with me and I knew he would be the one that would heal my son," said 67-year-old Joanna Lukasik of Chicago, who grew up near the late pontiff's hometown of Wadowice, Poland. "I was driving to the hospital and I was begging him and crying and begging him to save his vision and that's what happened."

Doctors say he was lucky. Lukasik's mother says it was a miracle.

Lukasik's story is one of thousands of testimonials being collected through a website set up by the Diocesan Tribunal of the Vicariate of Rome. It was created to help Pope John Paul II with his candidacy for Beatification and Canonization.

More than one million people are expected in Rome this weekend for the beatification ceremony, the biggest event at Vatican City since John Paul II's death six years ago. Hundreds of thousands of Catholic faithful will gather in St. Peter's Square to witness the beatification. That will mean Pope John Paul II can be referred to as "blessed" and that one miracle has been confirmed in his or her name. Another miracle is required for canonization, the formal act of declaring someone a saint.

The current pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, waived the standard five-year waiting period to put John Paul II on the fast track to sainthood. This was an extraordinary response to the millions of mourners who gathered at St. Peter's Square for the pope's funeral crying out, "Santo subito!" (Sainthood now!)

Lukasik's mother credits divine intervention by John Paul II for healing her son, Christopher, after his accident in 2007.

"I know Pope John Paul II did it for him. And that's why always in difficult times I will always pray to him because he was the one that gave me a miracle," she said during an interview with CNN at her Chicago home.

She said for three days there seemed no hope for her son's right eye, which bled continuously.

"Even the specialists couldn't tell what happened. They cannot see it, if he lost vision or not," she said.

Ophthalmology specialist, Dr. Kirk Packo, was one of those who examined the younger Lukasik at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He said it was difficult to determine what would happen since Lukasik's eye was full of blood.

He explained that when the metal rod hit his right eye, it spun it around and tore about a third of his nerve fibers.

"Christopher was a hair close to being blind in that eye," Packo said. "He got really lucky."

But Lukasik's mother said it was a miracle, one made possible because of her strong cultural connection with the pontiff and fervent faith in his healing powers.

Joanna Lukasik grew up in John Paul's hometown of Wadowice, Poland, before immigrating to the United States in 1963.

In the 1960s, she said, she volunteered to serve meals at the Urszulanki convent in Rokiciny-Podhalanski. It was there, she says, she got to know Bishop Karol Wojtyła - who would later adopt the name John Paul II as pontiff.

"I remember Bishop Karol Wojtyła used to come to the convent and meet with his friend Bishop Bolesław Kominek," Lukasik said. "He was such a kind soul; you could feel goodness from him. But also I could sense that I was near someone that was truly close to God."

Christopher Lukasik also has own special connection to Pope John Paul II. In 2004, three years before he was nearly blinded, he met the pope during a youth trip.

"When I actually touched his hand,I did feel something I have never felt around any another human being, which in all honesty was probably my first actual spiritual experience," he said. "I could feel some sort of energy in his presence like electricity moving through my body."

Lukasik said that encounter made him realize Pope John Paul II was in the realm of a higher power. Like his mother, he believes this encounter could be the very blessing that helped him overcome his injury.

"If one person suffers trauma and another person suffers trauma, one heals better than the other. It might be a physical thing or it might be something spiritual," he said. "Going into it and actually believing in the church, I'm sure it helped me get my mind off the issues and helped my body heal more."

In the years since his eye injury, Lukasik said he thinks often about the profound impact the pope made on his life.

"I am very proud he is going to be beatified, and it couldn't have happen to a better person," he said. "Maybe people will gain some knowledge as to what he did when he was alive and all the good that he did for the world."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Illinois • Pope John Paul II • Vatican

soundoff (329 Responses)
  1. Dr UO

    Oh my!!! Its God who heals!! He can choose to heal through a Doc, through a pastor or whomever, but He alone is the healer!! This is extremely sad, sad that they arent giving God the glory but the pope.

    April 30, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      Just asking..... why does He have to heal through someone, doctor, pastor, etc. ?
      If He is all powerful, why does He have to go through a mere mortal?
      It would maybe a miracle if the man's eye just instantly healed, instead of taking the usual healing time.... Just saying. Let's have higher standards for miracles...

      April 30, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  2. Rev. Rob

    What everyone needs to do is listen to yourselves. Most of you are arguing and pointing fingers with the knowledge that you got from your experiences in life. Have any of you had a health problem. In 2006 i was told by a doctor that i had liver cancer. They (meaning several doctors) have me 6mo to live. I prayed to God for a miracle and was totally heal while I was preaching the word of God. Not the word of man or doctor. The doctors said it is a miracle. Go figure. I didnt pray to a doctor or a priest. I prayed to the Creator. The source of all Miracles. When your tragedy in life comes and your knocking on deaths door, you will pray. Its your 1st instinct. Make sure you call on the right God!

    April 30, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      I've known several athiests that have been cured of cancer..... how does THAT work????

      April 30, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      I've also known several devout Christians who have died horribly of cancer....again, how does THAT work(mysterious, huh)???

      April 30, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      Rev. Rob..... you said....Make sure you call on the right God!
      Are you admitting there are more than one God????

      Genesis...I am the Lord thy God. You shall have NO OTHER GODS before me.
      Just how many Gods are there??????

      April 30, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Harvey

      Well Earthling, you know darn well that no religion can pass the "Problem Of Evil" test. Unfortunately, you should also know that no amount of proof of the massive improbability of their beliefs, no matter how articulately and persuasively argued, will ever cause the narrow-minded to stop believing in something so obviously untrue.

      May 1, 2011 at 3:29 am |
  3. Doomrot

    It must really suck being a doctor. You perform incredible feats of medice and the bafoons give god all the credit.

    April 30, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  4. bobsyouruncle

    I think organized religion served its purpose in providing education, law and governance in areas and times that had none. In the developed world, organized religion no longer provides such services. The idea that a man is just now being identified as performing miracles (now that he has died and was also a pope) is the required progression of an unnecessary organization. Of course a former pope performed miracles... how else could he become a saint? In today's era of global communications and electronic histories, it's now impossible to pull one over on the world and claim someone performed miracles without proof. If the church claimed someone had performed miracles while said person was alive, they would be directly asked and would either lie and be caught or tell the truth and erode the hold the church has on those with faith. Religion should be a matter between the individual and who they choose to revere.

    I respect anyone who has faith... no matter who or what they have faith in....

    April 30, 2011 at 8:05 pm |

    Oh brother! People are so easily duped.

    April 30, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  6. jen

    This article is extremely sad. Only God can miraculously heal. This is total idolatry. When i first read this i was just in total disgust. As I think about it more though,I am really saddened for the catholics who dont see how wrong and dishonoring this is to God. 🙁

    April 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Jen.. of course there are thousands of reports of amputees growing new limbs.. god is such a nice guy like that..He would rather make a statue 'bleed" or make Marys face appear in a cheese bun or something.

      April 30, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  7. whats wrong with a lil faith

    you people on here that are so quick to discredit the Lord. are foolish and ignoriant. read a bible and research some history. as far as the ladie pray to the pope thats stupid. just a man not supernaturel. God pleased the man through the skilled docs

    April 30, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • jd

      work on your spelling first!

      April 30, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling


      April 30, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  8. jd

    Saint?, this is the Pope who knowingly turned a blind eye to widespread child abuse. He should have been put in prison. Now a saint, disgusting

    April 30, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Incrediboy

      Hey dude, enjoy your stay in Hades when your nauseating spit of a body decides to take a dump.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Incrediboy...check out Hades....its not what you think,, Christians took the concept of hades and invented hell for their own use..Most of Christianity is made up on old pagan traditions and myths, the Catholics of course among them.

      April 30, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      Hey Imbecileboy..... Hades is from Greek Mythology..... Why did Christians steal a Greek Myth?

      April 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  9. Brian

    "On that day, the Doctor went downstairs to the hospital billing office, paid the $27,000 bill for the child, went to his office, closed up shop and went to study in a seminary. I have it on good authority that he disagrees with you." ............................................. As long as we are telling fairy tales, did you hear about the bleeding statue in Mexico. Those Catholic peasants think it's the blood of Christ.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Brian maybe you should fact check first before making your statement.... Check the records for a Doctor in Dover, De closing up shop in Nov 1981. The hospital has changed names since then, it was called Kent General at that time. Until then...

      April 30, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Doing a google search, I found a Dr. Stephen Schlesinger in Dover, and I found a Kent General (however it seemed to go by different name, perhaps a larger parent group). This doctor Schlesinger is a pediatrician, however, he is currently practicing and I could find no connection between him and Kent General. Nothing about this or any other miracle in 1981, either.

      April 30, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      Earwax is BUSTED!!!!!!!

      April 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  10. gordon atl

    Doctors perform miracles all the time.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  11. Gibsonsc91

    Comforting to hear the lack of respect in these comments for those who follow a religious belief as well as those who do not. Therein lies the true lack of evolution and progress.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  12. Vexie

    If she prayed to God, it would have been God granting the miracle.
    If she prayed to Jesus, it would have been Jesus granting the miracle.
    And of course If she prayed to Larry the Cable Guy, it would have been Larry the Cable Guy granting the miracle.
    Give me a break.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Incrediboy

      No wonder our country is in such bad shape. We're surrounded by MORONS!!!!!!!

      April 30, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • Fat Bobby Joe

      We're surrounded by morons, and we know the name of one: Incrediboy.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      You are SO CORRECT Fat Bobby Joe!!!!!

      April 30, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
  13. hadabadday

    @ Kathy... this article was not about his beatifaction...it was about a families miracle...and their belief that a MAN could have done this on his own...

    April 30, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  14. peanutbutter

    The pope can't heal anybody. Jesus and god do the healing. Praying to anyone other than God is useless. Give God the praise. Not a pope. That's why I could never be catholic. I am a Christian.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Incrediboy

      LOL....you a Christian????? More like a hypocrite. Holier than thou come Sunday...but cuss like a sailor come Monday.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  15. Canuckhockey

    Only Jesus produced miracles abracadabra? Perhaps you should read your own Bible as it clearly says his disciples carried out miracles.. People like you who blindly follow a teaching are exactly why organizations like the corrupt Catholic church exists and manipulates people.. Sheep.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  16. jefffbo

    There couldn't be enough miracles to convince me that the head guy of a perverted religion deserves beautification. He doesn't.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Incrediboy

      EGADS!!!! ....another roach in the soup. Get a life you soul-less wonders.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      Actually Imbecileboy, we are all soulless.... you are just too stupid to realize it.

      April 30, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  17. Rim

    Wouldnt a smarter dead pope stop the object from hitting this kids eye in the first place?
    And this clown is going to be beatified? Whats next, are they going to sacrifice a live virgin and drink her blood?
    Come on people, we've evolved physically, now its time to evolve mentally.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Incrediboy

      Once again....another IDIOT rises to the forefront of this blog, exposing to all here his lack of functioning brain cells.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Fat Bobby Joe

      Another stupid Incrediboy post.

      No need to wonder why we are becoming a third world nation: we have idiots like Incrediboy to thank for that.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      Once again....another IDIOT rises to the forefront of this blog, exposing to all here his lack of functioning brain cells.

      Yep.... and his name is Incrediboy!!!

      April 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  18. MRobinson

    Everyone listen to gupsphoo, smartest person on here. Please enlighten me on your science, I'd love to hear it.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  19. gordon atl

    I don't criticize people who have faith in religion but I do not believe myself. Someone above asked who gave the doctors their ability to heal? Well, that would be their parents when the doctors received 23 chromosomes from each. Good job parents of those doctors.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      You then are one of the rare ones. Good on you, Gordon atl. There is too much hate as it is.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • SuperMom

      Thanks Gordon, I am one of them!

      April 30, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      steve the real one...Why do you always assume that anyone who does not share the belief you have is hateful? I disagree with your concept of putting a supernatural being ahead of human beings, and thinking they are all "sinners" and other negative connotations , but I do not hate you.. that is such a religious word. Humans have, and always will, be able to solve problems and find solutions..it happened before the invention of gods and will outlast even the most enduring myths...

      April 30, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Evolved DNA
      steve the real one...Why do you always assume that anyone who does not share the belief you have is hateful? I disagree with your concept of putting a supernatural being ahead of human beings, and thinking they are all "sinners" and other negative connotations , but I do not hate you.. that is such a religious word. Humans have, and always will, be able to solve problems and find solutions..it happened before the invention of gods and will outlast even the most enduring myths...
      1. My statement does not apply to everyone
      2. You are not new to this blog. You have seen hateful statements from both sides.

      May 1, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  20. Aezel

    And this, inherently, is the danger of religion, displayed once again for all to see. It makes people believe insane things, instead of giving credit where it is really due.

    Instead of people coming to appreciate how hard our medical community and fellow man work to develop the knowledge and skills through research and biological science to be able to save his eye after an accident like this, they give credit to some imaginary figment of their imagination in the sky. Pure, indefensible, insanity, that hurts our relationships with real people.

    April 30, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • airwx

      You might wish to confer with a former Doctor. He watched as a 19 month old child survived an undiagnosed reverse presentation of epigloti-tus for three days. That means that every time the child was given a liquid to drink, the child should have drowned. The child was released from hospital 7 days after the diagnosis. On that day, the Doctor went downstairs to the hospital billing office, paid the $27,000 bill for the child, went to his office, closed up shop and went to study in a seminary. I have it on good authority that he disagrees with you.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Aezel

      Ah yes, thanks for some second hand anecdotal story that nobody can ever confirm and is most likely total bulls***. The fact that you would accept something like this as "proof" only reinforces the insanity that you subscribe to.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Art

      I had a brother whose eyeball was half-emptied due to a hurled broken bottle. Doctors save his eye. A medical miracle, I thought, but my mother said she prayed. Miracles happen to those who wish.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Canuckhockey

      Please airwx, can you back that up? And if you can I can give you a list of ministers who have gone the other way and given up their faith.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • airwx

      @Aezel....First hand knowledge and personal observation over the ten days ....sorry to burst your bubble

      April 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Kanuckhockey... yes I can back it up, and people switch sides all the time. I've seen two Doctors become ministers and a minister become a Doctor...nothing unusal in my mind.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Robert O Martin

      If the pope has such great powers, why din't he stop the rod from going into the victims eye to begin with?

      April 30, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Canuckhockey

      Then back it up, I find nothing with a moderate search of keywords.. What was the doctor or childs name if you have first hand knowledge?

      April 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • airwx

      Dr Sleshinger, pediatricion The child's first name is Richard. You might want to check the spelling. It has been nearly 30 years.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • Aezel

      Oh so, it was undiagnosed but, upon diagnosis somehow magically the doctor was able to be sure that for exactly 3 days prior the child's epiglottis was in reverse presentation, DESPITE not showing symptoms at that time.

      Also, if this person were actually a doctor, they would know that the epiglottis presents in many bizarre ways due to a variety of maladies,and it very rarely kills a person or "drowns" them as you say. Many people who have physical disabilities have non-functioning epiglottis, and aspirate food and drink for YEARS undetected.

      Sorry, but you are just full, of total, utter, lying, bulls***.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • Canuckhockey

      Nope, nothing... Cute story though.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Aezel... another "You just might be right so I have to attack you response"... I feel sorry for you.....Your attempt to explain away what happened shows your insecurity in your own belief system good night

      April 30, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Canuckhockey... This occurred in 1981....it's not going to be on the internet...search the old fashioned way, like a detective...you will be surprised by the results!

      April 30, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Aezel

      No, it shows that I'm not willing to believe in fairy tale bull.

      One of three things happened here: #1: Your story is true, in which case this guy was just a really, really, bad doctor who was either too untrained or too ignorant on the subject and chose to believe insane things like a miracle occurred. #2 possibility is that he was lying to you. #3: You are lying.

      Any of the three above are REAL explanations. Yours is just insane nonsense. That is the difference, and that is why you are being mocked, and deservedly so.

      April 30, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Canuckhockey

      No liar, you made the claim.. You back it up. And if this story was true it would be on the net somewhere the way God believers like to spew this crap.. I've read lots of things that happened even before 1981 believe it or not.. Liar

      April 30, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Educated_1981

      A make believe figment of the imagination did not save his eye. They say Pope John Paul II did. He's dead, and was just a man. God himself does exist, but hates idolatry. He would of been very angry with a prayer to a dead human. Out of kindness he may of healed the guys eye, however, the family would be ignorant to think a dead human did anything for them.

      April 30, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • nick2

      I agree. People would rather believe in magic. I think that miracles are grasped on to because it vindicates the presence of an immortal being – and with it the possibility of eternal life. Unfortunately it also propagates an unforgiving and autocratic religion that has claimed the right to manage spirituality on behalf of God. This absolutely contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

      April 30, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      So, earwax, nothing that happened before 1981 is on the internet?
      Do you even have access to the internet?

      April 30, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      I'm going to "pull an earwax"...... I know this guy. I watched as his mom drove him to the hospital.... I was so distressed, I prayed to the 'debil' to save his eye. But I was really praying to foosball.....'cause foosball is de debil!!!

      April 30, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • airwx

      Why I know That There is a God and That He Loves Me

      A Personal Testimony.

      Allow me to share a story. Not too long ago doubt was creeping into my head about the Lord and then a miracle happened.

      It was 3 years ago and 50 members of my church were enroute to a bible camp in the Blueridge Mountains of Virginia. They were traveling in a chartered bus. As they sang blessed hymns to the Lord, Satan was up to his old tricks. You see, the bus driver was an atheist socialist and that day his coffee mug was filled with vodka. As the bus wound up through the switchbacks, the driver became progressively drunker. Then it happened. It was that day that changed this poor sinner's life forever. Entering a particularly tight switchback, the besotted driver finally lost control of the bus and it plummeted 1500 feet down into a ravine where it exploded into a fireball incinerating the flock. The only survivor that fateful day was a young boy who was thrown from the bus by his father seconds before it hit the bottom.

      This young boy suffered severe brain damage from hitting a rock head first and will have to wear a football helmet and drool cup for the remainder of his life. But his survival proved to me that miracles do happen because God does exist and loves me. The Lord caused that accident to bring me back to his flock.


      Praise Jesus! Just open your eyes to his miracles and you will see him everywhere.

      April 30, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Estevan

      "Why I know That There is a God and That He Loves Me"

      Good POE!!! Too funny! Of course the drunken driver just HAS to be an "atheist socialist "...never mind that statistically in the US the atheists are the most UNDER-represented group in jail. It just HAD to be an atheist. An atheist socialist no less!

      April 30, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • rigel54

      "reverse presentation of epigloti-tus" What the heck is that? How does an inflammation of the epiglottis cause one to drown on drinking? Certainly inability to drink will cause death, after 3 days or so.

      April 30, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • airwx

      It is always fun to come back and read what was added to the comments after I leave a discussion. Now let me fill in the blanks... reverse presentation of epigloti-tus is where the flap that closes the top of the voice box when you swallow swells in the open position and does not close to prevent drowning. There was no mis-diagnosis. The Doctors suspected menengitus and began a coc-ktail approach therapy pending pathology. Pathology showed a heamophilus influenza was the cause. An ENT making rounds checked in on the child and discovered the danger on the third day. The point of the post is that the atheist crowd is unwilling to accept any evidence that is not "scientific" by their definition. No this wasn't written up in a newspaper or put on TV. The Doctor I had you trace was the pediatrician who can verify my account. He is still alive. The ENT is not as far as I know. Everything I told you folks can be verified, but the truth is that you don't care. Notice how you reacted...as if I was speaking of a miracle....yet read my post... I never used the word. And to top it all off...someone decided to steal my screenname for a spoof. I am honored....that means I hit a nerve with someone.

      l will conclude with this thought; atheists often attempt to discredit believers by presenting what they call a cognitive disonance argument. My post presented the same dilema to the atheists. When presented with evidence that is verifiable, atheists lash out, call people liars and try to trash them to establish their supposed intellectual superiority. It appears that the world is reverting to elemetary school bully behavior. Think about it, folks ......... Peace

      May 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Andy Anderson

      Airwx, except that your 'evidence' is not verifiable, and likely a crock. If it was not, it would be all over the place as 'evidence' of god's existence. You think believers in woo would pass up a chance to promote actual, real, proof of the belief of their deity of choice? Keep on digging.

      May 1, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.