A six-year-old Filipino girl, who was believed to have been healed through a miracle by a new saint, met Pope Francis in the Vatican on Sunday, May 15.
“Who would expect that a little kid from Barangay Nahawan in Clarin, Bohol, would walk in St. Peter’s Square and be near the Holy Father,” said Bishop Alberto Uy of Tagbilaran on a Facebook post.
“This is called grace, a gift from God,” said the prelate.
Angel Marie Vier Albaracin Degamo from the town of Clarin in the province of Bohol was one of those who offered gifts to the pontiff during the canonization Mass of ten new saints in St. Peter’s Square.
Degamo, dubbed the miracle baby, was recorded to have been healed by Marie Rivier, a French nun who was among those canonized by Pope Francis.
The girl was diagnosed with Fetalis Hydrops, a serious fetal condition, while she was still in her mother’s womb.
The mother, Gemma, asked for the intercession of Marie Rivier, and Degamo was supposed to have been healed.
The Diocese of Tagbilaran investigated the miracle from November 19 to December 1, 2018, and submitted the result to the Vatican to help in the canonization process of Rivier.
On December 13, 2021, Pope Francis recognized the miraculous healing of Degamo, who was reported to gave been suffering from an “early generalized non-immunological embryo-fetal hydrops.”
Hydrops fetalis has been a well-recognized fetal and neonatal condition throughout history in which there is a buildup of fluids around the lungs and heart.
“More than half of all babies with the condition die before birth or soon after delivery,” said Bishop Uy.
“After her mother … asked for the intercession of St. Marie Rivier, [Degamo] was miraculously healed. She is now six years old,” added the bishop.
Like Degamo, St. Rivier suffered from a disability for most of her childhood after falling out of bed and injuring her hip at sixteen months old.
The injury also impaired her development and could barely stand even with the help of crutches. Because of this, the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Pradelles turned her away when she decided to enter religious life at 17.
During the French Revolution, when convents and monasteries were forced to close, Rivier founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary dedicated to the education of young girls in the faith.
Today, the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary are present on five continents.
She died in 1838 and was beatified by St. John Paul II in 1982 after the miracle healing of Paulette Dubois who was diagnosed with infantile acrodynia.