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. Muhammad

    NONE IS GOD EXCEPT ALLAH WHO GIFTED JESUS AND CAN GIFT ANYONE HE WANTS TO GIFT. Jesus was just a man, the son of Mary and a Messenger of Allah.

    April 30, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Muhammad:

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      The First Five of the 77 Branches:

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

      Analogous steps are available for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism at your request.

      April 30, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  2. iDavid

    Jesus is dead. So is John Paul II. Get over it already.

    April 30, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
  3. Manny

    I guess the 15,000+ other people's children who died today of hunger kinda slipped through his miraculous ghostly fingers.

    April 30, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  4. Randall

    had the story been about an islamic "miracle" how many of you hot-headed jerks would be so quick to tear it down? Because Christianity teaches kindness and "turning the other cheek" you people attack because you have no fear of retaliation. Because Islam teaches violence and terror, you are afraid of it, so you lick its boots....YOU ARE ALL COWARDS

    April 30, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
  5. david

    By all means, don't bother thanking the doctors.

    "But, but...I prayed to JP II to save his vision and guess what! He didn't go blind."

    Great, I'm going to pray to JP II that I don't get hit by a comet tomorrow. When I don't get hit by a comet, I will attribute it to his intervention.

    Is the Catholic Church ready to admit that it is a polytheist organization?

    April 30, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  6. Rev. Rob


    April 30, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • Canuckhockey

      Because you talking about the little boy you molested isn't appropriate for most readers.. Go read your fairy tale book.

      April 30, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  7. Locode

    What a load of drivel. Praying (aka begging) to anyone or anything is idiotic.
    If this was all true and real, shouldn't Santa Claus be a saint?

    Humanity, it's time to grow a brain and realize that religion is nothing more than a giant cash grab. Start living your own life.

    April 30, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • Linda C - AZ

      St. Nicholas was a saint.

      April 30, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      Uhhh....Santa means Saint...... just saying

      April 30, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  8. Joe

    Just for the record – the woman and her son claim they believe this was a miracle. The Catholic Church has rendered no such judgement.
    I think CNN posts crappola like this to bait hate.

    April 30, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  9. Rev. Rob

    No, there is only one God, its just that people put other gods before the creator. People create the god that better suit there lifestyle. I was a drug addict and alcoholic, and they were my god. And that god almost killed me. The one true God have me life and life more abundantly! To God the glory!

    April 30, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • rigel54

      Worship the gods of spelling and grammar. They will work miracles.

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

      You say alcohol was your god and I say God is now your alcohol.

      April 30, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      Rev. Rob.... WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?????
      "No, there is only one God, its just that people put other gods before the creator."
      Who are the 'other gods'? You contradict yourself!!!

      April 30, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  10. Rev. Rob

    Hello what happen to freedom of speech. I just put my statement in and gave God credit for my healing and you take it off. Whats the matter CNN? If you dont like it no one gets to read it. Come on!

    April 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  11. personal jesus

    believe what you want to.. just dont ram the ancient fairy tales down anyones throat.. if he had become blind, what, thats gods will.. we as humans are so selfish to think "god" only cares about our little ball of dust in this infinite sea of being.. i think science knows a little more in the 21st century than ppl did back when all these stories were put in the masses minds to govern, control, and instill fear in ppl who had no explanation as to where we come from or why we exist.. Sheep!

    April 30, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • iroquoisjoe

      We may know a bit more today, but we're not much closer to understanding it all than the ancient Egyptians 5000 years ago. They looked up to the heavans and put their spin on it, and here we are, 5000 years later, and looking to the edge of the universe and trying to put our spin on it. It's all relative so to speak...

      April 30, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
  12. Hmmm

    I was bored so I prayed to John Paul for entertainment. After pushing a button on a 2 in x 6 in plastic stick this glass and plastic box started transmitting sound and pictures. It's a miracle!

    April 30, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  13. Ezequiel Ochoa

    the church is a joke

    April 30, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  14. Zion

    The first Clue that this is no miracle is the fact that the woman has completely skipped God the father and Christ altogether and put the Pope first praying to him....what a hypocrite given that Christianity teaches to pray only to Heavenly Father in the name of Christ...The man got lucky and like most catholics, this woman has forgotten her maker. The pope was chosen by man, not God and Corruption cannot beget incorruption. Signs of the times.

    April 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • Zebediah

      LOL! There is no god, dude. Grow up.

      April 30, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • Joe

      You are a clueless fillintheblank. Everything you've said is a regurgitation of typical evangelical hate speech wrapped up and delivered as though you're some kind of authority instead of the bigoted, deteminedly ignorant individual that you are.

      April 30, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • Zion

      I have no connection to evangelical beliefs and have never studied their religious orientation. So, try again and stop using your overactive brain to suppress what is simply a humble truth about the fact that Christians who pray to anyone other than God the father are hypocrites. The fact remains that our heavenly father gave one mediator, his son. Why pray to someone who God has never given the role of mediator to?
      And to all those who don't believe in God and think they evolved and have reasoned this away with their 2% brain usage, no argument is needed with them. Just wait till you die. I wish I could see the expression on all your faces when you die and shortly after realize that you still exist...and that realization hits that Life after death is real. naturally the next question is why and how....then you meet your maker and as certain as the sun will rise tomorrow (I hope) you will have to decide to believe in Him who is or be cast off. LOL- oh how I wish I could be there! I say these thing KNOWING whats next and KNOWING God exists.....not believing.....You say God doesn't exist but you do so without proof....just your pea brain reasoning skills and desire to simple live a mediocre life with no obligations or responsibility for any of your actions. Wasting the gift of life.
      (excuse any grammatical errors)

      May 1, 2011 at 12:56 am |
    • Joe

      OK, Zion, here's a couple of tidbits from my "overactive" brain. BTW, what the blank is that? A pathology or just symptomatic of a poor education misapplying an adjective?
      Regardless, Catholics pray to saints for their intercession with the one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And Catholics do not believe we make saints. Saints make themselves, through God's grace. The Church is merely poining out recognition when they do the canonizaion thing.
      Just what "orientation" do you follow? Do you acknowledge the Trinity? Sola Scripture? Sola Fide? Do you even know what they are? Or have you just figured everything out for yourself? If so, welcome to a very big club. There are over 33000 different protestant denominations.
      Despite its imperfections, the one Catholic Church does its best to profess and spread the one faith received from the Apostles, protect the deposit of faith, and exercise charity in accordance with the teachings of our Lord and Savior.
      Before you make your pronouncements concerning where and why Catholics are wrong, you may want to step back and educate yourself to the matter at hand. With all the information at hand in this day and age, that's not hard to do. Unless your a lazy pos.

      May 1, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  15. Observer

    It was a miracle that so many priests got away with molestation for so long.

    April 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • JT

      You make it sound as they are no longer r@ping children. They are still daily ra@ping children. They have further perfected this practice and are constantly adapting. Their deluded followers still gleefully bring their children to the slaughter to feed the pedophile cult.

      May 1, 2011 at 7:44 am |
  16. Don

    So....was it a miracle that people died in Alabama from the tornadoes? Or do we only count the survivors as "miracles"? Can't have it both ways, silly theists.

    April 30, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling


      April 30, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • Follower

      Must have been an Atheist tornado. God was too busy performing minor miracles than to worry about saving hundreds from a few little tornadoes.

      April 30, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  17. dolores

    The catholic Church hierarchy (sp) is so tainted that it disgusts me. Popes are no more infallible than I am.

    April 30, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Lee

      Your digust, digusts me! Have you MET EVERY ONE OF THE HIERARCHY???? Every single one of the thousands of Bishops throughout the world? Every one of them? Wow, You are God himself. So you can sit and pass judgement upon everyone, people you have never even met, just because of the office they hold or their religion? You sound like a truly non-judgmental open minded person to me. Hope that works out for you.

      April 30, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Lee

      and infallibility doesn't mean what you think it means. Pope's sin just like everyone else. The church teaches that. They confess their sins just like everyone else. Infaillibilty is used very sparingly in the Catholic Church. Pope's have made only 3 or so infallible statements in the past 150 years. We don't believe they are perfect or every word they speak is infallible. Far from it.

      April 30, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
  18. Brian

    With most medical "miracles" the problem is the original incorrect diagnosis. It's easy to cure a problem that doesn't exist. I remember seeing Jimmy Swaggart "cure" cripples just by putting his hand on their forehead. They threw their crutches away and started walking. Maybe they should make the Reverend Swaggart a saint.

    April 30, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  19. Rich

    So why did they go to the doctor?

    April 30, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
  20. Pilgrim1

    Anybody got a pig that needs a bath? 'Cause there's lots of hogwash here.....

    April 30, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • A proud young catholic

      Pope John Paul is a special person, because he in difficult times in his youth, went against the grain to protect and help those who were persecuted, in the face of such difficulty he found his vocation, which led to his position as Pope. I respect all who believe in other faiths or none. I have issue with those who throw uneducated comments and insults.
      Unfortunately, it sometimes takes hard blows for individuals to find God, but He is there waiting. He does not force his way, he waits to be invited into each heart, and in the mean time he sends signs through answers to prayer for healing and conversion...
      If you do not want to believe in such answers to prayer, thats okay, but do not insult those who are witnessing to what they have seen and witnessed in their own lives!
      A day might come, when you need to call on your God

      April 30, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Pilgrim1

      The point is....

      God heals.... not dead men!

      May be you should spend more time reading the Text and practicing faith rather than listening to prattle of men!

      April 30, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Abracadabra

      "God heals.... not dead men!"

      When either one of them causes the spontaneous regrowth of an amputated limb on someone... then, I'll take a look at this 'miracle' stuff.

      April 30, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Finger Puppet

      @A Proud Young Catholic
      He WAS a (special ?) person. One is open to interpretation, one is a certainty.
      You ARE correct that we will all face difficult life challenges, but we will NOT all go down the intellectually dishonest route of pulling a rabbit ouit of a hat, and use a system of faith as a crutch to get through those hard times. If you NEED to see life events as "the answers" to prayers, that's something you will deal with, maybe, eventually. Maybe not.

      "Popes" is the plural. "Pope's" is the possessive. I realize some on this board think "getting the gist" is all that's necessary, as someone said yesterday, but if you can't write an English sentence, we don't need to bother to read it.

      Exactly. Except it was all those evil babies that caused his wrath to come down upon them. Amen.

      May 1, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • Pilgrim1

      @Finger Puppet

      Before you point out grammatical problems in other posts, maybe you should spell check you own???

      I believe that "out" is spelled o-u-t not ouit!

      May 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
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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.