A miracle, that is, a healing unexplainable by science and medicine, is necessary for the Catholic Church to declare anyone Blessed or a Saint. This miracle happened in Lyon on May 29, 2012 when three-year-old Mayline Tran lost consciousness after choking while eating. The child, hospitalized in a desperate state after asphyxiation and a twenty-minute cardiovascular arrest, was considered lost. Despite the cessation of treatment by the doctors, the family refused to stop artificial feeding. A novena to Pauline Jaricot was recited, and shortly after, the little girl awoke but with a very degraded brain state which caused a prognosis of a hopeless vegetative state. Yet, against all odds, she experienced a total recovery.
A diocesan inquiry into the presumed healing was heard by the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Lyon from July 20, 2018 to February 28, 2019, the acts of which were deposited with the Congregation for the Cause of Saints. The file was sent to the medical commission which validated the inexplicable nature of the cure. On May 26, 2020, Pope Francis recognized the authentic healing attributed to the intercession of Pauline Jaricot, paving the way for her beatification.
The Catholic website Aleteia interviewed Emmanuel Tran, Mayline's father, who was visiting Lyon with his family in early May. He told his daughter's story in a book, Sauvée par un miracle ("Saved by a Miracle"), which he wrote for his daughter. "I wanted to tell Mayline that God has always been on her path." Here is this interview:
Aleteia: Ten years after what could have been a tragedy but became a miracle, thanks to Mayline's unexpected recovery, you decided to take up the pen to tell her story. Why did you decide to do this?
Emmanuel Tran: First of all, I wrote it for Mayline, so that she would know her story. I wanted to tell Mayline that God has always been in her path. This book was also a way for me to re-read these dramatic and then miraculous events, and to become aware of God's presence in our lives.
I also realized that many people had prayed for Mayline without ever knowing that their prayers had actually been answered! And this is also something I wanted to say and testify: yes, prayers are answered, and yes, miracles exist today. Among the many signs we received throughout our journey, I mention one in particular in the book: After the months of drama, when Mayline was able to enter school in Nice, she was assigned a guidance counselor, Sheena. One day, Sheena asked me to tell her what had happened to Mayline. I did so and Sheena said to me, "That's funny, it reminds me of the story of a little girl in Lyon for whom we had recited a novena to Pauline Jaricot with the Dominican Sisters of Cannes," and then with great emotion we understood the incredible coincidence: Sheena thought that the little girl had died, and in fact it was Mayline, for whom she was the guidance counselor!
As the beatification approaches, how can you live serenely through this period that is both intensely covered by the media and highly symbolic spiritually?
We are normal people in an almost normal world, and yet it is true, we have experienced a miracle. This is our message today: to testify that miracles exist. Of course, some people tell us "No, I don't believe your story," but I can't tell them anything other than "and yet it happened to us; I don't have the instructions, but here is Mayline." And it's beautiful, because beyond the doubts, the questioning, miracles exist in 2022.
Mayline, for her part, experiences it in all simplicity, with the faith of a child. She says she was very lucky to receive this miracle. She obviously has a great closeness with Pauline Jaricot; she has her picture in her room and received a piece of cloth belonging to Pauline. We also went to see the house where Jaricot lived in Lorette, and Mayline, like many little girls, really admired her necklace! In the last few days, when we met with the organizers of the beatification and the Archbishop of Lyon, Olivier de Germay, it was decided that on May 22 Mayline would bring one of her relics, the cross that Pauline had received from the Curé d'Ars, during the procession.
How do you talk about it with the people around you? At school, at work…
As an anecdote, for our two days here in Lyon, Mayline had to miss a day of school. My wife and I wondered what to put on the absence note and I told her to write, "Absent because of the preparation for the beatification of Pauline Jaricot." We'll see if that raises any questions! But in general, we don't talk about it particularly with the people around us. Many people are unaware of our history, and we have no glory to draw from it, only infinite gratitude.
How does your spiritual life evolve when you are the father of someone who received a miracle?
If my wife Nathalie has always been a believer, on my part, I had not been baptized but I always had interior belief and the desire to help my neighbor. We were married in the church, and then professionally I traveled a lot, working in the restaurant business, with busy schedules. In short, I never took the catechumenate steps.
That didn't stop me from praying a lot during Mayline's accident, especially during the novena to Pauline Jaricot, and I asked God, Mary and Pauline to save my daughter. One night, I had "a dream," a word that Bishop Marceau (bishop of Nice) explained to me later. This dream stayed with me all my life, and I entered the catechumenate.
On the day of my baptism in 2016—I remember very well—the priest told us, "Now you become apostles, you must witness." Those words resonate with me today, and make sense, especially as we tell our story and the intercession of Pauline Jaricot, who was the channel for God to perform a miracle. My prayer life today is quite intense and never mechanical, and it's true that I don't ask for anything anymore, but I give thanks constantly. This doesn't prevent the difficulties of life nor the doubts, but I know that God is great and that he works for us every day.