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Cured Sister will tell her story here

Posted By March 1, 2012 | 12:45 pm | Lead Story #1, Local

PHOTO: Sr. Marie Simon-Pierre

By Tanya Connor

Sr. Marie Thomas

Sr. Marie Thomas

The Religious Sister whose cure made possible Pope John Paul II’s beatification, and her former superior and present mother general, are speaking in Worcester in May.
Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, healed of Parkinson’s disease in 2005, and Sister Marie Thomas Fabre, then her superior and now Mother General of the Little Sisters of Catholic Maternity in France, are making their first trip to the United States to speak in Massachusetts, according to Marie Romagnano, who invited them.
Ms. Romagnano, a registered nurse, is founder of Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy, which sponsors the annual Medicine, Bioethics and Spirituality Conference at which the Sisters are to speak. It opens on the first anniversary of Blessed John Paul II’s beatification. (The popular pope suffered from Parkinson’s disease himself, died on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 2, 2005, and was beatified on the same feast day on May 1, 2011.)
Ms. Romagnano said the Sisters will speak in French at the eighth annual conference for healthcare professionals May 1 and 2 at the College of the Holy Cross. Participants will receive written English translations of their talks at the beginning of the conference, she said.
Sister Marie Simon-Pierre is a maternity and neonatal hospital nurse. Sister Marie Thomas is a midwife.
The Sisters are to give a modified version of their conference talks – a testimony of the miracle – to the general public from 2-4 p.m. May 6 at St. Paul Cathedral, Ms. Romagnano said. She said they will speak in French and there will be a spoken English translation.
They are also to speak to the general public from 3:45-5:15 p.m. April 29 at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge.
While in the area the Sisters will receive a presentation on NaPro Technology from Dr. Paul Carpentier,  president of In His Image Family Medicine in Gardner and president of the American Academy of Fertility Care Professionals, Ms. Romagnano said. Dr. Carpentier said he will also give them a tour of the obstetrical unit at Heywood Hospital in Gardner.
The website describes NaPro Technology as “a new medical science supported by Pope John Paul II … which helps couples treat reproductive disorders in a way which respects their fertility and the sacrament of marriage.” It says Dr. Carpentier was one of the first physicians trained in this science, back in 1989.
The Sisters are also to have an interview in New York with Father Benedict Groeschel, of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, for a television program on Eternal Word Television Network, Ms. Romagnano said.
Ms. Romagnano said she met Sister Marie Simon-Pierre at Pope John Paul II’s beatification.
“She was there with the Holy Father,” she said. “She carried the relic of John Paul II’s blood. It was a powerful moment.”
The second time she met Sister Marie Simon-Pierre was last October in Poland, at the Second World Apostolic Congress at the Shrine of Divine Mercy, where St. Faustina Kowalska, visionary of Christ as King of Divine Mercy, lived.
Sister Marie Simon-Pierre was a speaker invited to “witness to God’s mercy,” Ms. Romagnano said.             There she also met Sister Marie Thomas, who she said sought Pope John Paul II’s intercession for and with Sister Marie Simon-Pierre hours before her sudden healing. The mother general at the time had asked the nuns to seek the late pope’s intercession for their sick sister, she said.
Ms. Romagnano said she and Father Kazimierz Chwalek, provincial for the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in the United States and Argentina, who was there, invited the nuns to speak at the healthcare professionals conference in Worcester. Ms. Romagnano said she was interested to learn how Sister Marie Simon-Pierre’s healing has affected her ministry to sick and dying patients and their families.
“Just the thought that they would come and be part of our evangelization …,” she marveled, at their eventual acceptance of the invitation. “We’re evangelizing healthcare professionals. We’re teaching them not only the Catholic biomedical ethics, but we’re also empowering them with knowledge of their faith, to help those individuals that might be sick, injured or dying, to turn to the Lord.”
“She is a beacon of light for us as healthcare professionals because she has experienced God’s mercy first-hand,” Ms. Romagnano said of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre. “And, through that profound experience of healing, she is able to convey to others incredible faith and trust in Jesus.”
At the healthcare professionals’ conference, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre’s keynote talk from 1-1:45 p.m. May 1 is titled, “The Healing Touch of Mercy: My Miraculous Cure of Parkinson’s Disease.” Sister Marie Thomas follows from 1:45-2:30 p.m. with: “Case Study: Witness to a Medical Miracle: Faith and Healing of Parkinson’s Disease.”
Sister Marie Simon-Pierre’s keynote from 10:15-11:15 a.m. May 2 is titled, “Difficult Cases of Neonates and Mothers: Medical and Pastoral Care.”     Sister Marie Thomas follows from 11:15-12 with: “The Challenges of Obstetrical Medicine in France and Senegal: Originality, Characteristics and Opportunities.”
The conference opens at 7:30 a.m. May 1 with Mass celebrated by Bishop McManus, who is also to chair a panel discussion about “Patient Autonomy and a Well-Formed Conscience” from 11 a.m.-noon that day. A Mass May 2 closes the conference. Both days the Divine Mercy Chaplet is to be prayed at 3 p.m.
Priests, physicians and nurses are among conference speakers. Topics include physician-assisted suicide, cloning, spiritual care of patients and a patient’s perspective on Parkinson’s disease.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School Office of Continuing Medical Education is co-sponsoring the conference with Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy. The latter is an Apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, whose ministry includes the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge.
Healthcare professionals can get continuing education credits for attending the conference.
The cost of the conference ranges from $85 per day for students to $350 for two days for physicians.

– Those wanting more information or to register for the conference can view the website or call 1-800-462-7426.