Ten years ago, a little girl named after a Jewish-born nun killed by the Nazis lay dying in a Boston hospital.
The doctors didn’t expect 2-1/2-year-old Teresia Benedicta McCarthy to make it. Her parents prayed to her namesake, Edith Stein, who was known as Sister Teresia Benedicta.
Their prayers were answered and the girl lived. Now, the Vatican has ruled that her recovery was a miracle attributable to the nun and moved Stein a step closer to becoming a Roman Catholic saint.
“The choices are either it’s an accident or purposeful - there’s nothing in between,” said the Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, the girl’s father.
“And our position is that this is not an accident, that it is purposeful and it is within the providence of God.”
McCarthy is a priest in the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church, a branch that allows a married man to become ordained. He and his wife, Mary, had long been fascinated with the life of Stein and named their daughter, now 12, in her honor.
Born to a Jewish family in what is now Wroclaw, Poland, Stein converted to Catholicism, became a nun in 1933 and took the name Teresia Benedicta. She died in an Auschwitz gas chamber on Aug. 9, 1942, two months before her 51st birthday. She was beatified by the church in 1987.
Teresia Benedicta McCarthy was born on Aug. 8, 1984 - Aug. 9 Auschwitz time, the anniversary of Stein’s death, her father said.
She fell ill after swallowing a potentially fatal dose of Tylenol. For four days, she barely clung to life. Her liver and kidneys failed, she developed an infection and drifted toward a coma, said Dr. Ronald Kleinman, who treated her at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Then, all of a sudden, she turned around, said Kleinman, who testified before Vatican officials.
The Vatican announced April 8 that Pope John Paul II had officially recognized the miracle, the final step before canonization.
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