Lynn Cassidy says her infant daughter's condition improved after she meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
September 23, 2015 05:20 PM

While people in the U.S. celebrate Pope Francis‘ stateside arrival, one woman in Arizona is reflecting on what she believes is a miracle performed by the pontiff to save her daughter’s life.

In Easter of 2014, Lynn Cassidy and her family traveled to the Vatican with their 3-month-old daughter Ave, who was born with Down syndrome and two holes in her heart. There to get a glimpse of the Pope, as well as witness the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII, the family stood in the rain in an area they were told overlooked the path Pope Francis would travel on his Pope-mobile.

What happened next is an experience the family feels is nothing short of a miracle.

“It was like The Lion King,” Lynn Cassidy told KPNX in Phoenix. “The secret service person, Johnny, stopped and took her from Scott and held her up to the Pope. The Pope asked my husband, ‘How old is she? What’s her name?’ He told [the Pope] she has two holes in her heart.”

The Pope then kissed the baby on her head while he placed his right hand over her heart.

“When we got home in May, we went back to the cardiologist for a check-up. One of the holes was completely closed and one was half the size,” she said.

“The Pope healed our baby’s heart,” she also said. “It seems like it was really meant to happen. And it’s as close to a miracle as we’ll ever see, I’m sure.”

Now, a photo of the special moment hangs in the family’s hallway.

“I mean it’s possible that it closes just over time,” she said. “But when you see the picture that the professional photographer took, his hand is here and he’s a servant of God.”

Now 20 months old, Ave’s heart is healthy and she is doing well after two eye surgeries and receiving hearing aids.

Although the Cassidys are not expected to meet with Pope Francis during his U.S. trip, the family is grateful for what they perceive as divine intervention – and Lynn already knows what she’d say to him if they ever meet again.

“Thank you for spreading the word that all life is precious,” she said she would tell him. “Even life that seems like it might have struggles like hers. She is as precious as anyone else. We just thank you for spreading that message, because people need to hear that.”

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