CREVE COEUR, — A St. Louis woman believes her recovery from cancer was a miracle, and now the Vatican will have the chance to decide if the cure can be attributed to a French priest, who's in line for possible canonization.
Rachel Lozano told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she attributes her recovery to the French priest Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, who lived from 1761 to 1850. If Rome considers her case a miracle, the pope could one day canonize Chaminade as a saint.
"I just feel elated to be part of the process," Lozano said.
The St. Louis Archdiocese officially wrapped up its investigation into the claimed miracle Friday with a prayer service to mark the occasion. About 3,000 pages of testimony generated by the investigative tribunal will now be sent to Rome, where the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints will examine the evidence.
Chaminade's intercession is already credited with one miracle, the curing of an Argentine woman's lung cancer in 1991. The Vatican deemed that a miracle in 1998. Based on that miracle, Pope John Paul II in 2000 beatified Chaminade, which is a step toward canonization.
Lozano attended Chaminade's beatification in Rome while she was ill, and says that was the foundation of her miraculous recovery.
"She began entrusting her health to the intercession of Blessed Chaminade," said the Rev. James Tobin, pastor at Lozano's church, Our Lady of the Pillar.
Lozano had survived several bouts with cancer, and even underwent a stem cell transplant, but in 2002, doctors found a tumor growing near her heart, lungs and spine.
Doctors told her surgery would kill her, but so would the cancer — in weeks or months depending on which organ the cancer struck first. No one had survived a recurrence of this cancer after a stem cell transplant.
But she lived, and scans showed her tumor wasn't growing as expected. Eventually a surgeon removed the tumor and found it was dead.
The Marianists order of Catholic brothers and priests found Lozano's case compelling and presented her story to the archdiocese as a miracle attributable to Chaminade, the order's founder. An archdiocese tribunal investigated, interviewing Lozano, her family, her doctors and Tobin, among others.
The tribunal's evidence is now headed to the Vatican. It's unclear when a ruling might come from Rome.