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Mystery still shrouds French nun in Pope Jean Paul's beatification case

The mystery is only partly solved.

Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre has been identified as the French nun whose testimony of a mystery cure from Parkinson's disease could prompt the Roman Catholic Church to beatify Pope John Paul II. But the church and her colleagues are keeping other details about the nun under wraps for now.

The mother superior at the Sainte-Felicite maternity hospital in Paris where the nun worked said Thursday that she was not authorized to say anything about her - at least until Monday.

That is when the nun is expected to travel to Rome for ceremonies marking the second anniversary of the pontiff's death and the closure of a church investigation into his life, which began after chants of "Santo Subito!" or "Sainthood Now!" erupted during John Paul's 2005 funeral.

The identity of the nun had been one of the Catholic Church's most closely guarded secrets. The nun says she was cured of Parkinson's after she and her community of nuns prayed to John Paul.

The nun is a member of the "Congregation of Little Sisters of Catholic Motherhood" in Aix-en-Provence in southeast France. The French newspaper Le Figaro, which first identified the 45-year-old nun late Wednesday, said she had also spent time at a catholic maternity hospital at Puyricard, near Aix-en-Provence.

The hospital's mother superior, Sister Marie-Matthieu, said she knew the nun but would not say much more until a press conference planned for Friday.

"She is normal. There is nothing particular" about her, said the mother superior. "We are not replying to any questions."

The Vatican's saint-making process requires that John Paul's life and writings be studied for its virtues. The Vatican also requires that a miracle attributed to his intercession be confirmed, before he can be beatified - the last formal step before possible sainthood.

Pope Benedict XVI announced in May 2005 that he was waiving the traditional five-year waiting period and allowing the beatification process to begin. There is still no word on when any beatification or canonization might occur.

Only one document about the long-mysterious nun's experience has been made public: an article she wrote for "Totus Tuus," the official magazine of John Paul's beatification case.

She wrote of being diagnosed with Parkinson's in June 2001, having a strong spiritual affinity for John Paul because he too suffered from the disease and suffering worsened symptoms in the weeks after the pope died April 2, 2005.

The nuns of her community prayed for her, and exactly two months after the pontiff's death, she awoke in the middle of the night cured, she wrote.

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