The father of Jimena, the 16-year-old Spanish World Youth Day pilgrim who reported she recovered her sight during a Mass in Fátima, provided ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, the details of what he described as “a leap in faith” and a “gift from the Virgin Mary for WYD.”

On Saturday, Aug. 5, in Fátima, Portugal, Jimena said she was cured of a serious eye problem — which the doctors called incurable — after completing a novena to Our Lady of the Snows and receiving holy Communion at a Mass.

‘I felt something special’

Her father, who says he was always “holding on to the conviction that she was going to be cured,” described what Jimena’s first call home was after what had happened.

“We practically didn’t speak, she was crying; she just told us, ‘I see, I see.’ Then the priest called us who had celebrated the Mass to give us a few more details. It’s an incredible joy,” he said.

“She went to confession before going to Mass. She was very excited, she felt something special. She then went to receive Communion,” he said. “Afterward she was afraid to open her eyes because she thought, ‘If I don’t get cured, it’s because I don’t have faith.’ And she opened them up and began to see everything. Then she … started crying and realized that her friends were two and a half years older [than when she saw them last],” her father recounted, still quite emotional.

A ‘Way of the Cross’ looking for doctors

For two and a half years, Jimena has suffered from an “accommodation spasm,” a malfunction in the way the eyes focus. Normally, such a condition would measure about two diopters (the unit used for an eye prescription).

“In Jimena’s case,” her father explained, “it ranged from eight to 16 diopters at the worst moments. So, it didn’t allow her to see, not with glasses nor in any way.”

“Let’s say that her ‘eye was crazy,’ so if they measured that she was at eight diopters and they put glasses on her, she couldn’t see, because she couldn’t focus. The convergence [coordination] of her eyes didn’t work for her, it was something that the doctors themselves considered inexplicable.”

For just over a year they tried a “very cutting-edge treatment in Japan” with the hope of obtaining results. However, there was no progress. “It didn’t work for Jimena and it produced terrible side effects because she felt bad, had nausea, headaches, and couldn’t study.”

“The medical team,” the girl’s father continued, said that they had run out of options and “they didn’t know what else to do.”

It was Jimena who asked her parents to stop the medication, and so they decided to look for other alternatives so as not to just sit by and do nothing.