Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Friday 22 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Sadalberga
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Woman gives birth while in coma, awakens after St. John Paul II appears to her


Pope John Paul II | Shutterstock - Ivana Greco - Facebook

Silvia Lucchetti - published on 01/31/22

In a life-threatening situation, she found comfort and strength in a dream of the great pope.

Rebecca Maria was born at 32 weeks gestation on March 16, 2013, in Catania (on the island of Sicily). It sounds like ordinary news — one of the many premature births that are successful thanks to the progress of science and the hard work of doctors and nurses.

In a coma due to a cerebral hemorrhage

Instead, the story of this birth, reported in Vita da Mamma and more in depth in Miracoli magazine, is unusual.

Mrs. Ivana Greco, 33 years old at the time and already the mother of a girl named Giuditta, was peacefully carrying her second pregnancy when she was struck by a cerebral hemorrhage. At the moment of admission to the Intensive Care Unit of the Garibaldi Hospital, she was already in a coma.

Rebecca Maria is born

A double problem arose with extreme urgency: to save the woman and to help Rebecca Maria be born as soon as possible. The head of the department was obliged to handle this birth under extreme conditions. Two days after Greco was brought to the hospital, she underwent a c-section. The result was the birth of a healthy baby girl weighing 3 pounds and 6 ounces, who was immediately transferred to the neonatology ward.

Pope John Paul II appears to Ivana

But Ivana was still in a potentially life-threatening clinical situation. This is how she recounts her incredible experience to Miracoli magazine:

The coma started like a bad dream. I couldn’t say, maybe I was in the hospital room, but everywhere I turned, there were dead people wandering aimlessly. Then, from a distance, I saw Pope Wojtyla. He was sitting on my bed, calling out to me. I approached him and begged him not to let me die. He smiled and reassured me. 

That smile had famously invited the whole world not to fear: “Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ!” Ivana also feared nothing supported by the pope’s love.

The dream during the coma

The “dream” continued with a conversation between the two of them, in which the Holy Father, who was not dressed in white, asked her if she had recognized him. When she told him she had, he pointed out that he was no longer the pope, but only Karol Wojtyla.

In all of this there is also the funny detail that Ivana couldn’t remember the name of the current pope (recently elected at the time). She told Wojtyla that the new pope’s name was Alexander, but he corrected her and gave the correct name of Francis.

After praying for days … Jesus’ breath of love

Ivana continues her story:

He was sitting on my bed and said, “Come, sit next to me.” Then he hugged me and let me rest my head on his shoulder. From that moment we began to pray. We prayed for days; we asked for Our Lady’s intercession and I felt his hand on my forehead. At one point, he said to me, “I’m going to leave now, but you have to stay calm!” I couldn’t breathe, but suddenly I felt a breath of love that, from my nose, filled my lungs and then I understood that it was Jesus’ breath of love!”  

Ivana comes out of the coma

At that point, on March 29,  Ivana came out of the coma and realized with horror that her womb was empty. “It was the worst experience of my life!” she told Miracoli.

Immediately afterwards, the head physician, who was beside her, reassured her and showed her the photos that her husband Paolo had taken of Rebecca in the incubator. Seeing these images, Ivana’s heart was full of gratitude and she felt that she had experienced something supernatural. “I understood that I had received the divine breath of Jesus. It was He who made me wake up. Then the doctors continued God’s work.”

No neurological damage

God’s work did not end with Rebecca being born safe and sound, but continued with the absolute absence of brain damage for Ivana, who today happily takes care of her two girls, whom she entrusts to the protection of Karol Wojtyla.

The mother is also grateful for the work of the doctors, whose work was essential. In a video interview made as she left the hospital, she says, “There was the human and the divine, which together form a miracle.”

Pope John Paul IIPregnancy
Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.