Ten years ago, a little girl named after a Jewish-born nun killed by the Nazis lay dying in a Boston hospital.

The doctors didn't expect 2 1/2-year-old Teresia Benedicta McCarthy to make it. Her parents prayed to her namesake, Edith Stein, who was known as Sister Teresia Benedicta.Their prayers were answered and the girl lived. Now, the Vatican has ruled that her recovery was a miracle attributable to the nun and moved Stein a step closer to becoming a Roman Catholic saint.

"The choices are either it's an accident or purposeful - there's nothing in between," said the Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, the girl's father. "And our position is that this is not an accident, that it is purposeful and it is within the providence of God."

McCarthy is a priest in the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church, a branch that allows priests to marry and have children. He and his wife, Mary, had long been fascinated with Stein and named their daughter, now 12, in her honor.

Born to a Jewish family in what is now Wroclaw, Poland, Stein converted to Catholicism, became a nun in 1933 and took the name Teresia Benedicta. She died in an Auschwitz gas chamber on Aug. 9, 1942, two months before her 51st birthday. She was beatified by the church in 1987.

Benedicta McCarthy was born on Aug. 8, 1984 - Aug. 9 Auschwitz time, the anniversary of Stein's death, her father said.

She fell ill after swallowing a potentially fatal dose of Tylenol. For four days, she barely clung to life. Her liver and kidneys failed, she developed an infection and drifted toward a coma, said Dr. Ronald Kleinman, who treated her at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"She was quite a sick little child," Kleinman, a pediatric gastroenterologist, said Saturday.

Although most children recover from Tylenol overdoses, the doctors were pessimistic about Benedicta's chances. Then, all of a sudden, she turned around, said Kleinman, who testified before Vatican officials.

Although Benedicta had been diagnosed with irreversible liver damage and was put on a waiting list for a transplant, she is a healthy adolescent today.

"I think it was miraculous that she recovered," Kleinman said. "I think you have to be humble. We do our best and when we do our best, in spite of that some children die. But when they turn around, I think you have to acknowledge that there are other forces in play there that are beyond what we're capable of doing."

Benedicta said Saturday that she doesn't remember her brush with death but believes a miracle took place. She believes Stein is still watching over her.

The Vatican announced April 8 that Pope John Paul II had officially recognized the miracle, the final step before canonization. Some Jews criticized her beatification in 1987.

The Nazis killed her, they said, because of her Jewish heritage, not because she later embraced Catholicism.

The Rev. Kieran Kavanaugh, who investigated the case for the Archdiocese of Boston, said the girl's recovery was only one of several factors behind Stein's nomination for sainthood.

In addition to creating a miracle, the person must have lived a life of heroic, Christian virtue, he said.

"I thought there was a good chance that it would be a miracle from what I could tell," Kavanaugh said. "When the doctors proved that it was, I was very happy."