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It's a miracle! Pope John Paul II takes big step toward sainthood

Pope John Paul II is in the fast lane to sainthood after a Vatican congregation of cardinals and bishops credited him with a second miracle, Italian news agency ANSA reported Tuesday.

The decision brings the Polish-born pope one step closer to canonization. 

Pope John Paul II's first approved miracle was the healing of a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre. Her recovery from Parkinson’s disease after praying for the late pontiff's intersession offered no medical explanation, according to the Vatican. The healing was confirmed as a miracle just six months after the pope's death in 2005.

The second miracle is said to have occurred on May 1, 2011 – the night of John Paul’s beatification ceremony in St. Peter’s Square – and was the healing of a Costa Rican woman.

All that separates Pope John Paul II from sainthood now is a papal signature. Theologians expect he may be canonized by the end of the year.

Seventy-eight former popes have been canonized, the last being Pope Pius X, who served as head of the Roman Catholic Church from 1903 to 1914. He was canonized in 1954.