Jeanette De Melo is the editor in chief for the Register. She recently became co-host to Register Radio along with Thom Price and Dan Burke. Before joining the Register staff in 2012, she served as the Archdiocese of Denver’s communications director, spokeswoman and general manager of the Denver Catholic Register, El Pueblo Católico, and the archdiocesan website. Prior to this position, she was the associate communications director for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, where in addition to managing media relations, she co-produced a weekly archdiocesan television program.
This week on Register Radio I heard the remarkable story of Floribeth Mora, the 50-year-old Costa Rican woman who was healed of a brain aneurism after praying for the intercession of Blessed John Paul II.
EWTN’s Spanish-language programming director Enrique Duprat recounted her story to Register Radio after his television crew interviewed her last weekend in Costa Rica.
In 2011, Floribeth learned of the life-threatening seriousness of her cerebral aneurism. Upon being told there was nothing doctors could do for her condition, she returned home and she and her husband began to pray for Blessed John Paul II’s help.
On May 1, 2011 as she watched the beatification of John Paul II on television, she experienced a miracle. Later upon medical examination doctors couldn’t explain how Floribeth’s aneurism completely disappeared. Her case was sent to Rome and on July 5 Pope Francis approved that miracle paving the way for Blessed John Paul II’s canonization.
In the Register Radio interview, Duprat described Floribeth Mora as “a very simple lady.” She is a mother of four and a grandmother, born in Cristo Rey outside of San Jose. She’s married to Edwin Arce, a retired policeman.
“Floribeth around April 14, 2011 started feeling sick… with headaches and pain in the left side of her body,” said Duprat.
They visited the family doctor, who found an aneurism and sent her to a specialist in San Jose. Her cerebral aneurism was very rare because of its location and size, explained Duprat.
“The way the doctor explained was that it looked like a hot dog. The vein was so inflated… They decided the best treatment was basically no treatment. Since they didn’t have a way to operate,” said Duprat, recounting the story told by the neurosurgeon Alejandro Vargas Roman, who had examined Floribeth.
The doctor told her husband to take her home and try to live simply and quietly so as to avoid the rupture of the aneurism.
“Before the miracle happened, they were good Catholics. … They went to mass every Sunday. [There was] nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary,” said Duprat.
Edwin was desperate to save his wife. That’s when he began to pray.
“He went out, sitting in front out on the steps of the hospital, he was alone and he started praying…Blessed John Paul do something help me help my family. I cannot live with out my wife,” recounted Duprat.
Edwin said at that point he heard the voice of John Paul II saying “don’t be afraid. Take her home.” Obediently he took his wife home.
“Floribeth also was praying all the time… She was scared to die…scared of what would happen to the family. So she decided to pray to Juan Pablo also,” said Duprat.
For the beatification of John Paul II, there was a large event in a stadium in San Jose. Floribeth was unable to go to the celebration but she watched the beatification on television. “She was praying and crying to John Paul ‘help me help me.’ Right at that moment she started feeling better,” said Duprat.
Later Floribeth visited Dr. Alejandro Vargas and after the medical examination he was in disbelief. They realized it was a miracle.
“As a scientific person I can’t say anything. As a Catholic this is a miracle!” Vargas told EWTN.
The story of how Floribeth’s miracle made its way to Rome is in itself a small miracle. But you’ll have to listen to the Register Radio interview to hear the rest of the story.
The EWTN television interview with Floribeth Mora, her husband and her doctor will air Monday, July 15 in Spanish at 6pm Eastern on Nuestra Fe en Vivo. It will also be translated into English at a later date.
Real Men Pray the Rosary
In the second half of the show, Dan Burke spoke will David Calvillo, a lawyer with Calvillo law firm. He lives in Texas with his wife and seven children. He wrote the book Real Men Pray the Rosary, which the Register reviewed last May.
After a profound conversion experience, Calvillo founded Real Men Pray the Rosary, an apostolate that spreads devotion to the rosary.
“I was suspicious of persons who called themselves born again. But I truly was born again in that prayer garden in 2008,” said Calvillo, of the retreat that led him to embrace the rosary and eventually found an apostolate for men.
Calvillo attend an ACTS retreat with his wife. ACTS is an acronym for Adoration, Community, Theology and Service.
He recounted a powerful experience praying the rosary. “I felt like I was praying at the foot of Jesus on the Cross with everyone who had ever prayed the rosary,” he said.
His mother was always encouraging him to say the rosary. But Calvillo said, “I was one of those knuckle heads that rosaries were for old ladies and funerals.”
His experience on retreat started him on a journey to learn about the power and truth of praying the rosary.
“Praying the rosary has led me to have a hunger for faith…I can’t find enough time to read everything I want to read [about my faith],” said Calvillo.
He began Real Men Pray the Rosary in 2011. It has grown to be an international organization.
“We take our mission directly from Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter in 2002 where he says to rediscover the rosary in the light of scripture, in harmony with the liturgy and in the context of our daily lives. And we structure our activities around those three points,” said the founder.
Calvillo’s organization especially focuses making the rosary relevant and accessible in daily life.
“Really there are no excuses for praying the rosary…it’s either important or it’s not. You can do a decade at a time interspersed throughout the day.”
The beauty of doing it throughout the day, Calvillo noted, is that it becomes a way of raying without ceasing like St. Paul said in Thessalonians 5:17.
Another suggestion, from Calivllo, is to pray while doing exercise like running. And he suggests driving is another time to pray. The car, he said, is like “a monastic cell” where you’re stuck for a time allowing you the time to pray.
“You have the Blessed Mother right there with you no matter what you’re doing,” said Calvillo.
He said the rosary teaches perseverance and nourishes faith.