Story at a glance

  • The Vatican on Wednesday announced Pope Francis authorized a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to John Paul I.
  • The miracle occurred in the healing of an 11-year-old girl in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2011.
  • He was elected in August 1978 but died unexpectedly of a heart attack just 33 days later.

An Italian pope who reigned for a little more than a month before his death in the late 1970s is on the path to sainthood thanks to Pope Francis. 

The Vatican on Wednesday announced Pope Francis authorized a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to John Paul I, who was elected in August 1978 but died unexpectedly of a heart attack just 33 days later. 

The miracle occurred in the healing of an 11-year-old girl in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2011. According to the Vatican, the girl had been afflicted with acute brain inflammation, septic shock and other serious problems that led her to be intubated. As the girl’s condition worsened, doctors believed her death to be imminent. 


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A pastor of the parish associated with the hospital proposed to the girl’s family that they invoke John Paul I in prayer. Nursing staff present in the intensive care unit also joined the prayers. 

According to the Vatican, the girl began to improve days later and eventually made a full recovery. 

“The prayers were choral, individual and prior to the favorable change in the clinical course. The causal link between the invocation to the Venerable John Paul I and the healing of the little girl was recognized,” the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the body of the Catholic Church that oversees the canonization of saints, said in a statement. 

The move by Pope Francis means John Paul I will be beatified, which is the first step towards sainthood. After beatification, a second miracle must be attributed to John Paul I for him to be declared a saint.


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Published on Oct 13, 2021