Bent double by a crippling disease, an elderly American looked up to the Heavens and prayed to Birmingham's Cardinal John Henry Newman to deliver him from his torment.
Miraculously, he is now able to walk upright, and could prove the key to the Midland man of God becoming a saint.
The Birmingham Cardinal, who died more than a century ago and is buried at Rednal Hill cemetery, Birmingham, is one step closer to beatification after evidence of his 'miracle' was rubber stamped and forwarded to the Vatican.
The campaign to canonise him has been ongoing for 40 years, with one of the key requirements for sainthood being that at least one miracle was achieved.
Cardinal John Henry Newman, who died in 1890, converted to Catholicism at the age of 44 and founded The Oratory in Edgbaston. He was also a leading theologian and writer of the hymn Lead Kindly Light, and Pope Benedict XVI is one of his long-time admirers.
Father Paul Chevasse, provost of The Oratory, is acting as the Cardinal's postulator, gathering evidence for the cause and forwarding it to the Vatican. Yesterday in Boston, Father Chevasse formally sent documents containing evidence of a "miracle" cure of a deacon in Plymouth, Massachusetts to the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints in Rome.
If it accepts the evidence presented as a miracle, Newman can be beatified. Two miracles must be proved for him to be canonized.
The breakthrough in Newman's cause for sainthood came after a tribunal of officials in the Archdiocese of Boston wrapped up an 18-month investigation into the miracle.
The Boston tribunal was set up in June last year after Mr Sullivan, who was 'bent double' by his condition, was then able to 'walk about straight' after praying to the Cardinal.
"One night, I was flicking through the channels and saw something about Cardinal Newman," the father-of-three said at the time. "I knew little or nothing about him. But I watched it all the way through and started praying to him and my life was changed."
The end of the process in Boston means that all witnesses, including doctors who examined medical records, have given their testimony and that the evidence is strong enough to send to the Vatican.
To qualify for Church approval alleged healings must be instant, enduring and devoid of any natural explanation. It is hoped that Newman will be beatified in Birmingham by the end of next year.