A Phoenix family believes Pope Francis’ blessing miraculously healed their 3-month-old daughter who was born with two holes in her heart.
Ave was born to Lynn and Scott Cassidy with a complex of health issues, including Down syndrome, sight and hearing problems, and most serious of all, two holes in the heart, USA Today reports.
But according to Lynn, she and her husband, Scott, took their baby to Rome to meet Pope Francis. And when he held their daughter and kissed her, she was healed miraculously.
According to Lynn, “The Pope healed our baby’s heart. It seems like it was really meant to happen. And it’s close to a miracle as we’ll ever see, I’m sure.”
In Easter 2014, during the canonization of John Paul II and John XXII, Lynn and Scott travelled to Rome with a plan to see Pope Francis and have him hold and bless their baby.
Lynn recalls that on the day they saw Pope Francis, “It was raining. We were told that if we stood on a barricade in St. Peter’s Square, the metal fences in front, the Pope would come by in his Popemobile.”
Lynn and Scott stood for hours in St. Peter’s Square until the pope’s motorcade appeared. When they saw Francis approaching in his popemobile, Scott held up their daughter, according to KPNX.
“It was like the Lion King,” Lynn said. “The secret service person, Johnny, stopped and took her from Scott and held her up to the Pope. The Pope asked my husband, ‘How old is she? What’s her name?’ He told (the Pope) she has two holes in her heart.”
The pope proceeded to kiss and bless the baby, placing a palm over her chest. The couple had a professional photographer with them who captured on camera the moment that Pope Francis held, kissed, and blessed baby Ave.
The photo still hangs on the wall of the family’s home in Phoenix.
The couple returned home, and later in May, when they took Ave for a check-up, the doctor told them that one of the holes in Ave’s heart had closed completely and that the other hole was only about half its former size.
Lynn believes that Ave’s healing was not incidental but was due to divine intervention after Pope Francis blessed the baby in Rome.
“I mean it’s possible that it closes just over time,” she said. “But when you see the picture that the professional photographer took, his hand is here and he’s a servant of God.”
Little Ave’s heart condition has healed completely. She is now a healthy and happy twenty months old baby. She has undergone surgery to correct her eye defect and has received hearing aids to assist her hearing.
Lynn said that if she ever meets Pope Francis again, she would thank him for taking the time to stop to hold and bless their baby. Francis’ action, according to Lynn, spreads the message that “all life is precious. Even life that seems like it might have struggles like hers. She is as precious as anyone else. We just thank you for spreading that message, because people need to hear that.”