Blog 18: Terminal Aneurysm

A brain aneurysm is a weak, bulging area in an arteryA thick-walled blood vessel carrying blood flow from the heart to any organ of the body, including the brain. in the brain, analogous to a thin balloon or a weak spot on a tire’s inner tube. Because its walls may be weak and thin, an aneurysm is at risk of rupturing. If an aneurysm ruptures, blood spills into the space between the skull and the brain, a serious type of strokeA disability caused by injury to the brain. Most strokes are caused by loss of blood flow to a portion of the brain (called an ischemic stroke or cerebral infarction) or by injury related to bleeding within the brain tissue (an intracerebral hemorrhage) or into the space around the brain (subarachnoid hemorrhage). known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH)Bleeding into the space around the brain (the subarachnoid space)..

Types of brain aneurysms

Saccular aneurysms, also called “berry” aneurysms because they look like berries, are the most common type of brain aneurysm. Saccular aneurysms have a “neck” that connects the aneurysm to its main (“parent”) artery and a larger, rounded area called the dome. These aneurysms bulge on only one side of the artery wall. A less common type is a fusiform aneurysmAn irregular shaped widening of a cerebral vessel that does not have a discrete neck or pouch., in which the artery is widened on both sides. Fusiform aneurysms do not have a defined neck.

“Brain Aneurysm Basics.” Brain Aneurysm Foundation,

But if it does blow up, the chances of surviving are only one in two, and the odds of surviving without severe brain damage are only one in four.

The largest international study to date showed that unruptured aneurysms smaller than 10 mm — about the size of a raisin — had a tiny risk of rupture, provided the patient had no earlier history of bleeding from a brain aneurysm, and higher risks associated with surgical treatment.

Almost half of patients die within 30 days of aneurysm rupture, and about half of the survivors have irreversible brain damage. “So if your brain aneurysm ruptures, you have only a one in four chance of doing well,” Bederson says.

Barclay, Laurie. “Brain Aneurysms: To Operate or Not to Operate?” WebMD, WebMD, 30 Oct. 2000,

Only about 30,000 of people in the United States experience ruptured aneurysms each year. Forty percent of ruptured aneurysms are fatal.

Pressure from the blood leaking into your brain from a ruptured aneurysm can build up quickly. If the pressure becomes too high, you can lose consciousness. Death can occur in some cases.

After a brain aneurysm ruptures, it can rupture again at any time, even after treatment. Your brain’s blood vessels can also become narrow without warning (vasospasms) in response to elevated pressure around the brain.

Other complications include:

  • hydrocephalus, in which cerebrospinal fluid circulation is impaired
  • hyponatremia, or low sodium levels due to the brain injury

COULDNT SOURCE!!! Brindles Lee Macon, Tim Jewell and Matthew Solan. “Brain Aneurysm.” Healthline, 2016, Brindles Lee Macon, Tim Jewell and Matthew Solan.

A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain. Most strokes are caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain (ischemic stroke).  Other strokes are caused by bleeding into brain tissue when a blood vessel bursts (hemorrhagic stroke). Because stroke occurs rapidly and requires immediate treatment, stroke is also called a brain attack. When the symptoms of a stroke last only a short time (less than an hour), this is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke.

“The Internet Stroke Center.” The Internet Stroke Center. An Independent Web Resource for Information about Stroke Care and Research.,

Blog 17: More on miracle itself of JP II

“According to a 23 April 2013 Catholic News Service (CNS) article by Cindy Wooden that cited news reports from Italian news media agencies, and included remarks by the Pope’s longtime aide, Kraków‘s Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, and Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., a Vatican commission of doctors concluded that a healing (which took place shortly after the late Pope’s 1 May 2011 beatification by his now-retired successor, Pope Benedict XVI) had no natural (medical) explanation, which is the first requirement for an alleged miracle to be officially documented.[252][253] The miracle is reported to be the healing of Costa Rican woman Floribeth Mora, on the date of John Paul’s beatification, of a terminal brain aneurysm.[254] A Vatican panel of expert theologians examined the evidence, and determined that it was directly attributable to the intercession of John Paul II and recognised it as miraculous.[252][253] The next stage was for Cardinals who compose the membership of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to give their opinion to Pope Francis, who decides whether to sign and promulgate the decree and set a date for canonisation.[252][253][255]

On 4 July 2013, Pope Francis confirmed his approval of John Paul II’s canonisation, formally recognising the second miracle attributed to his intercession. He will be canonised alongside Blessed John XXIII.[5][256] The date of the canonisation has been announced as 27 April 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday.[25

Valerio. “Pope John Paul II.”, 26 Apr. 2014,

Floribeth Mora Diaz had a severe brain aneurysm in April 2011 and was told she had approximately a month to live. She often prayed to John Paul II for help.

She was especially drawn to JPII after he visited Costa Rica in 1983. “He was a man completely full of holiness — that struck me about him. I suppose that’s why my admiration grew and so I followed him and asked his intercession.”

“Mariano Ramirez Carbajal, the doctor assigned by the Costa Rican archdiocese as a medical expert in Mora’s case, said that “her medical history, her clinical documents and images, were true … I have never seen an aneurism disappear spontaneously. This is the first time I have seen an aneurism disappear.” “

Jimenez, Marta. “Woman Healed by John Paul II’s Intercession Recounts Miracle.” Catholic News Agency, Catholic News Agency, 25 Apr. 2014,

“Theologians at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints have approved a second miracle granted through the intercession of Blessed John Paul II, moving him closer to being declared a saint. “

“Before Blessed John Paul II can be canonized, the Congregation must formally approve the miracle and present it to Pope Francis. Pope Francis would then promulgate and celebrate the canonization. The miracle was reportedly approved by two doctors in April as having been a cure that cannot be explained in natural terms.”

“The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints studies each case rigorously, to determine that no scientific explanation for the miracle is possible and that there is a direct relation to the intercession of the possible saint in question.

Msgr. Oder had told Italian daily Avvenire that alleged miracles worked through Blessed John Paul II’s intercession had taken place in Poland, Italy, Spain, the United States, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil.

Benedict XVI beatified him on May 1, 2011, after a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, was miraculously cured of Parkinson’s disease through his intercession.”

Cna. “Vatican Theologians Approve Second Miracle of John Paul II.” Catholic News Agency, Catholic News Agency, 19 June 2013,

“Saint John Paul II is perhaps one of the most well-known pontiffs in recent history, and is most remembered for his charismatic nature, his love of youth and his world travels, along with his role in the fall of communism in Europe during his 27-year papacy.

The cherished Polish Pope died in 2005, marking his 2011 beatification as one of the quickest in recent Church history, and is the first Pope to be beatified by his immediate successor.”

Harris, Elise. “Popes John Paul II, John XXIII Officially Declared Saints.” Catholic News Agency, Catholic News Agency, 27 Apr. 2014,

“Karol Józef Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his October 1978 election to the papacy, was born in the Polish town of Wadowice, a small city 50 kilometers from Krakow, on May 18, 1920. He was the youngest of three children born to Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. His mother died in 1929. His eldest brother Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 and his father, a non-commissioned army officer died in 1941. A sister, Olga, had died before he was born.

On July 4, 1958, he was appointed titular bishop of Ombi and auxiliary of Krakow by Pope Pius XII, and was consecrated September 28, 1958, in Wawel Cathedral, Krakow, by Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak.

On January 13, 1964, he was appointed archbishop of Krakow by Pope Paul VI, who made him a cardinal June 26, 1967 with the title of S. Cesareo in Palatio of the order of deacons, later elevated pro illa vice to the order of priests.

Besides taking part in Vatican Council II (1962-1965) where he made an important contribution to drafting the Constitution Gaudium et spes, Cardinal Wojtyla participated in all the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.

The Cardinals elected him Pope at the Conclave of 16 October 1978, and he took the name of John Paul II. On 22 October, the Lord’s Day, he solemnly inaugurated his Petrine ministry as the 263rd successor to the Apostle. His pontificate, one of the longest in the history of the Church, lasted nearly 27 years.

 He made 104 pastoral visits outside Italy and 146 within Italy. As bishop of Rome he visited 317 of the city’s 333 parishes.

John Paul II successfully encouraged dialogue with the Jews and with the representatives of other religions, whom he several times invited to prayer meetings for peace, especially in Assisi.

His love for young people brought him to establish the World Youth Days. 

More than 17,600,000 pilgrims participated in the General Audiences held on Wednesdays (more than 1160), not counting other special audiences and religious ceremonies [more than 8 million pilgrims during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 alone

 He celebrated 147 beatification ceremonies during which he proclaimed 1,338 Blesseds; and 51 canonizations for a total of 482 saints. He made Thérèse of the Child Jesus a Doctor of the Church.

His most important Documents include 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions, 45 Apostolic Letters.

On April 28, the Holy Father Benedict XVI announced that the normal five-year waiting period before beginning the cause of beatification and canonization would be waived for John Paul II. The cause was officially opened by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, on June 28 2005, and he was beatified May 1, 2011. “

Feast day=october 22

“Pope Saint John Paul II.” Catholic News Agency,

Blog 16: a physican’s role in confirming a miracle

The idea of a saint began when early Christians were persecuted under Roman rule. Their rejection of apostasy and willingness to die for their faith made them martyrs and heroes in the eyes of their fellow Christians. They were called saints and many believed that the saints could ask God for favors to help the living. Back then, local churches declared individuals saints without any regulation or standards. The Church realized this could lead to false saints and scandal so at the Council of Carthage in 419 AD, bishops in Northern Africa try to regulate the process by which people were declared saints. A person had to be recognized and investigated by the local bishop who could confirm miracles and declare the person venerable. However, the power to declare someone a saint lied only with the pope.

” The Church’s process of recognizing a saint is called beatification and canonization. The Church does not create saints. The Church simply applies the standard of holiness of life to certain individuals who lived exemplary Christian lives and through this lengthy process of prayer and study have declared that the individual is in heaven. One way for God to affirm the presence of an individual in heaven with Him is through the performance of miracles through the intercession of that person. “

Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241) in 1234 regularized the process to investigate and confirm miracles by requiring there to be an eyewitness and physician. However, this was not canon law so the policies were not universally applied.

In 1588 Pope Sixtus V (1585-1590) created the Roman Curia with 5 Congregations to assist with governing the universal church. He bestowed the task of investigating indivudals who were had a case for beatification or canonization to the Sacred Congregation of Rites.

Paolo Zacchia was a famous Roman physician who wrote Quaestiones medico-legales in 1621. The theologians of the Sacred Congregation of Rites adopted his viewpoints as tools with which to assess miracles. Under Pope Urban VIII, the Sacred Roma Rota ( the 2nd highest ecclesial court in the church) made it obligatory to have a medical expert in the examination of the validity of a miralce.

Pope Innocent XI issude a decree requiring fees for those investigating a miracle and stated that miracles were supposed to viewed strictly through the lense of nature.

The norms of the process promoted by Benedict XIV were incorporated into the code of the Canon Law of the Church in 1917 by Benedict XV. It required that a medical expert must always be included among the members of any tribunal in charge of collecting information regarding a miracle and they do not have to be Roman Catholic.

Pope Pius XI (1922-1929) policy regarding historical miracles for the Congregation of Rites (COR) abandoned the idea of “apostolic authority” and instead ordered one process with ordinary authority. Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) created the Medical Committee on October 22, 1948 to advise the theologians on the COR when evaluating medical miraces. The committee was modeled after the Medical Committee established in 1884 at Marian Shrine at Lourdes, France. It is mandatory for the theologians of the COR to seek and abide by the opinions of the physicians.

Paul VI (1963-1978) in 1969 divided the Congregation into to two dicasteries (official vatican bureaus) and named one the Congregation of Causes of Saints. This new group had three distinct offices: judiciary, the promoter of General of the Fatih, and the historical-juridical.

In 1983, John Paul II promulgated canon norms for exact procedures to be followed for causes of saints from the initiation of the process to the declaration of sainthood by the pope. He also added a college of Relators to preparecases of those who had already been declared servants of God (the first step in canonization). The inquiry into the virtue of an individual was separated from the inquiry into the validity of a miracle attributed to that individual.

Physician-consultants are appointed by the prefect of the Congregation of the cause of saints.

60 proffessors, department chiefs, chief medical directors mostly in Rome (sometimes from other nationalities in other cases) are selected and must be Roman Catholic to serve on the Congregation.

“Their duty is to determine whether any alleged medical miracle (most all clamed miracles are of this sort) is inexplicable by current medical science. “

5 members of the medical commission will meetoffices of the Congregation biweekly for nine months of the year to examine two claims for miracles. During this time, medical and hospital records are obtained and testimonies are taken from licensed medical personel. 2 of the 5 will make reports that will be reviewed by the other three. If they are both negative, the case is dropped. However if there is at least one positive, the case undergoes further investigation with a report sent to the president of the Commision.

Only one-third of cases for alleged miracles are determined by the medical committe to be medically inexplicable. Between forty and fifty cases are review every year. While investigating, medical professionals are only given written reports and are completely isolated while studying.

Theologians on the Congregation take into the account the miracle as only a piece of the whole while determining wether or not someone is a saint. Then it is there duty to make a reccomendation to the cardinals who advise the Pope who has the ultimate decision.

” “It should not be forgotten that in the examination of events claimed to be miraculous the competence of scholars and theologians converges, although the last word is given to theology, the only discipline that can give a miracle an interpretation of faith. This is why the process of Saints’ Causes moves from the scientific evaluation of the Medical Council or technical experts to a theological examination by the Consultors and later by the Cardinals and Bishops. “

Harvey, John Collins. “The Role of the Physician in Certifying Miracles in the Canonization Process of the Catholic Church III.” Southern Medical Journal,

Blog 15: More medical info for jp ii miracle

Below are statistics or facts regarding aneurysms:

Women are more likely than men to have an aneurysm (a 3:2 ratio).

A hemorrhage may be fatal or result in devastating neurological outcomes.

There 500,000 deaths per year due to aneurysms. Half of those who die are younger than 50.

A ruptured brain aneurysm is fatal in 50% of cases and 66% of those who survive suffer from permanent neurological defecits.

15% of people who suffer a ruptured brain aneurysm die before reaching the hospital.

“Statistics and Facts.” Brain Aneurysm Foundation,

A saccular aneurysm is “berry shaped” and forms and the bifurcation or “y” formation at the split of a large blood vessel. It is often at the branching off of a large artery at the base of the brain.

A fusiform artery is less common, more stable and less likely to rupture. They are located at the junction of the “y” formation where a blood vessel either branches off or comes together.

Davis, Charles Patrick. “Brain Aneurysm Symptoms, Causes, Surgery, Signs & Survival Rate.” EMedicineHealth, EMedicineHealth, 11 Nov. 2019,

Blog 14: JPII miracle cont/brain aneurysm info

What is a brian aneurysm?

A brain aneurysm is an enlarged blood vessel in the brain that can either or leak or rupture and cause serious damage. Symptoms include sudden intense headaches, vomiting, stiff neck, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, seizures, drooping eyelids, loss of consciousness and confusion. The causes for aneurysms are unknown, however, there are factors such as age, smoking, blood pressure, usage of drugs or a constant large consumption of alcohol that are correlated. Most aneurysms do not rupture, however, when they do the situation can very quickly become life threatening. A rupture often occurs in the space between the brain and the thin tissues surrounding the surface of the brain. This is known as a subaracnoid hemorrhage. A rupture can lead to a re-bleed or a vasospasm which is the narrowing of the blood vessels in your brain. Due to lack of blood flow, the cells in the brain are damaged because they cannot obtain the oxygen carried by the blood. A rupture can also result in a hydrocephalus in which the space between the brain and the surrounding tissues (the location of the rupture) block the circulation of blood surrounding the brain and spinal cord. As a resut, excess cerebrospinal fluid increaseses pressure on the brain and can damage tissue. Hyponatiemia is when a subarachnoid hemmorrage causes a disruption in the sodium balance which can damage the hypothalamus (at the base region of the brain) which controls has several roles including homeostatic operations, sleep and the emotions. When sodium levels drop, brain cells will swell and can cause permanent damage.

What is the hypothalamus? “Hypothalamus: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2019,

“Brain Aneurysm.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 9 Aug. 2019,

What are the treatments for an aneurysm?

Surgical clipping removes a section of the skull to accces and locate the aneurysm. The surgeon then places a metal clip to stop blood flow to the aneurysm.

Endovascular coiling is less invasive than surgical clipping. A catheter, a hollow plastic tube, is placed into an artery (usually near the groin) and threaded to the aneurysm. A soft platinum wire is then guided through to coil in the aneurysm and disrupts blood flow to cut off the aneurysm from the artery.

Risks of surgical clipping and endovascular coiling include potential bleeding in the brain or loss of blood flow within the brain. Typically, surgeons opt to use the endovascular coiling method.

A new method uses flow diverters which are tubular stent-like implants that work to divert blood flow away from the anuerysm sac. The lack of blood flow within the aneurysm can stimulate the body to heal the site and encourage reconstruction of the parent artery. This is usually more helpful for larger aneurysms.

Rehabilitation from a patient recovering from a brain aneurysm can include physical, speech, and occupational therapy.

Other treatments are meant to relieve signs and symptoms of an aneurysm. Tylenol or acetaminophen can be taken to relieve pain. A calcium channel blockers prevents calcium from entering the cells of clood vessel walls (typically this is used when somebody has a vaspospasm).

There are also preventative measures taken to prevent strokes from occuring due to insufficent blood flow.Intravenous injections of a drug called a vasopressor increases blood prssure to overcome resistance of narrowed blood vessels. An angioplasty is when a catheter places a tiny balloon inside a narrowed blood cell and then the balloon is inflated to expand it.

Medications to prevent seizures can also be taken by people with aneurysms. Medications include Veppra, Dilantin, and Valporic acid.

“Brain Aneurysm.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 9 Aug. 2019,

Blog 13: Miracles of JpII

I chose to investigate the second miracle interceded for by John Paul II that aided in his canonization process.

Floribeth Mora Diaz, a mother of four, suffered a brain aneurysm in April, 2011. The doctors told her that they could not operate on her and she had approximately one month to live. Floribeth prayed to John Paul for a cure. On May 1, 2011, the day of John Paul II’s beatification, Floribeth reports that John Paul II awoke her and said “Get up! Don’t be afraid!”. She felt that she had been cured so she returned to the hospital for medical tests and brain scans. The results of the tests showed that she had been instantaneously cured and the medical physicians could not provide a scientific explanation for this occurence.

A team of medical physicians convened at the vatican and secretly brought Floribeth to Rome where they placed her in a hospital and examined her current state and the medical reports from before the beatification. The team declared the same statement that the original doctors had stated: that her recovery could not be explained by science.

This miracle aided the canonization process and soon after John Paul II was declared a saint by Pope Francis.

Miller, Michelle “The Miracles That Made Pope John Paul II a Canonized Saint.” Magis Center, 22 Oct. 2018,

Blog 12: Who was Fulton Sheen?

Fulton Sheen was born on May 8th, 1895 and died on December 9th, 1979 shortly after undergoing open heart surgery. He was a priest who evangelized on a television series called Life is Worth Living where he spoke about faith and criticized communism. He also wrote several books including Ways to Inner Peace, The Power of Love, and Communism and the Conscience of the West. He served as a a Bishop in Rochestor, New York and in 1969 he became archbishop of Newport, Wales. He also was Pope Paul VI as assistant to the Pontifical Throne. In 2012, Benedict XVI declared Fulton Sheen as venerable for living a life of holy virtue and recently in July 2019, Pope Francis confirmed a miracle interceded by Fulton Sheen which has opened up a case for his possible beatification.

Blog 11: Who was Don Alvaro?

Don Alvaro was the Prelate of Opus Dei. Opus Dei is an organization in the Catholic Church founded by Saint Josemaria Escriva who advocates that everyone can attain sanctity in their daily lives. Opus Dei is a personal prelature meaning that it is a group within the Church that has more flexibility and freedom to carry out their mission. It is made up of lay people and priests who are dedicated to spreading the spirit of Opus Dei around the world.

“What Is Opus Dei?” FAQ,

Don Alvaro was born in Madrid on March 11, 1914. Alvaro and two other men were the first priests to join Opus Dei in 1935. He was elected as Saint Josemarias successor after his death in 1975. In 1982, Opus Dei officially became a prelature of the Catholic Church and John Paul II named him the Prelate. Don Alvaro was known for his love for the Church, trust in God as a father (divine filiation), charity and sense of humor. “Biography of Bishop Alvaro.” Biography of Bishop Alvaro – Opus Dei, 21 Mar. 2014,

He died in 1994 and was declared blessed in September 27th, 2014.

Blog 10: Who was St. John Paul II?

Saint John Paul II was a polish priest who served as pope for about twenty-six years (1978-2005). He was a young and dynamic pope who travelled all over the world to spread the demonstrate his support for the universal church. He wrote many encyclicals to clarify Catholic teachings and helped correctly interpret the decisions made in the second Vatican council. Saint John Paul II also played a crucial role in the fight against communism in Eastern Europe. He also warned the west of the evil that materialism. In his final years as pope, Saint John Paul II suffered from Parkinson’s disease. After his death in 2005, he was beatified on May 1, 2011 and canonized on April 27, 2014.

Blakemore, William B. “Political and Cultural Messages.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 24 June 2019,

more on jp ii and communism on “What Was Pope John Paul II’s Role in the Fall of the Soviet Union?” Catholic Straight Answers, 12 May 2014,

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Solidarity.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 20 Aug. 2018,

Blog #9: Brain Dump.

So far I have researched the definition of a miracle and how it is confirmed in the Catholic Church. I have also referenced some famous miracles and sites (Lourdes) in which miracles have taken place. Now that some of the terms have been defined, it is time to dig deeper into the a few specific miracles.

My capstone paper will investigate the miracles interceded by St. John Paul II, Blessed Don Alvaro, and Fulton Sheen. There will be an in-depth analysis on the medical aspect of the miracles and how they were each confirmed as a miracle. The illness that was cured will also be looked at to provide context.

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