Pope Benedict XVI has formally approved a miracle attributed to his late predecessor, paving the way to John Paul II's beatification on 1 May. The process of beatification, or declaring the late pontiff to be "blessed", is a crucial step towards making him a saint. John Paul II died in 2005 after a papacy of nearly 27 years. The Vatican credits him with the miraculous cure of a nun said to have had Parkinson's Disease. Church officials believe that the Polish pope, who himself suffered from the condition, interceded for the miraculous cure of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a Frenchwoman in her late forties. She has said her illness inexplicably disappeared two months after John Paul II's death, after she and her fellow nuns had prayed to him. Church-appointed doctors agreed that there was no medical explanation for the curing of the nun, although last year there were some doubts about the validity of the miracle.