Salvadoran newspaper describes miracle for Blessed Romero cause

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A large canvas depicting Archbishop Oscar Romero hangs on the facade of the National Theater in San Salvador, El Salvador, in this March 24, 2015 file photo. A small copy of this painting was given to Pope Francis by the president of El Salvador. The archbishop was fatally shot as he celebrated Mass March 24, 1980. (Octavio Duran/CNS)

By Rhina Guidos
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Though Church authorities in El Salvador said they would wait to give more details of a Vatican-approved miracle that has cleared the way for the canonization of Blessed Oscar Romero, a Salvadoran newspaper March 8 published an account of a 35-year-old woman who said her husband’s prayer asking for the intercession of Blessed Romero saved her life.

The newspaper, El Diario de Hoy, said a woman named Cecilia in August 2015 had been having problems with her pregnancy. After she gave birth, she was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening condition that affects some pregnant women and damages the liver.

The newspaper story said a doctor told Cecilia’s husband that her liver and a kidney were damaged and, “if you believe in something, in a god, (pray) for her because the way she is, it’s likely that she’ll die.”

HELLP is an abbreviation of the three main features of the syndrome: hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count.

Pope Francis and President Mauricio Funes Cartagena of El Salvador look at a reliquary containing a blood-stained piece of the vestment of Archbishop Oscar Romero during a private audience in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican in this May 23, 2015 file photo. Archbishop Romero was wearing the vestment when he was assassinated while celebrating Mass in 1980. President Funes presented the reliquary as a gift. (Alessandro Bianchi/CNS via Reuters)

The husband went home to pray, opened a Bible his grandmother had given him, saw a card with Blessed Romero’s image in it, and even though he’d had an “aversion” to his grandmother’s prayers to the slain Salvadoran archbishop, he prayed for his intercession, the story said.

Though Cecilia had slipped into a coma, she awoke Sept. 10 and made a full recovery, the newspaper said.

The couple told the newspaper they knew it was a miracle and decided not to tell anyone about it but eventually confided in their pastor, who secured the documentation to send to the Vatican. On March 7, the Vatican announced that the decree approving a miracle attributed to Blessed Romero’s intercession had been approved.

Blessed Romero was assassinated March 24, 1980, as he celebrated Mass following several public denunciations of violence against civilians in the Central America nation. He had spoken out against  injustice toward the poor that was leading to a conflict that would last 12 years and leave more than 70,000 dead. He was beatified May 23, 2015 after being formally recognized as a martyr for the faith.

At a meeting March 6 with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, Pope Francis formally signed the decree recognizing the miracle needed to advance the sainthood cause of Blessed Romero. No date has been announced for his canonization.