The cause for sainthood of Bl. Francis X. Seelos ran into a slight road bump when it was announced that the Vatican’s board that reviews miracles will not consider the apparent healing of an Annapolis, MD, woman from esophageal cancer as the miracle needed for Bl. Francis’ canonization. In a Nov. 21 news release, the Redemptorists announced that a Vatican review panel agreed that while Mary Ellen Heibel’s disappearance of metastasized esophageal cancer in 2005 was extraordinary, it hesitated to confirm it as miraculous because Heibel died in 2009 of pneumonia – making it impossible to ascertain a “complete and definitive healing.”
A Capuchin priest in Denver has finished a manuscript he and others hope will promote awareness of and possibly lead to the opening of Julia Greeley’s beatification cause. He and other Denver residents have even formed the Julia Greeley Guild for this purpose.
Greeley was a slave who, upon emancipation, migrated to Denver and entered the Church in 1880. She was known especially for her great acts of charity, even though she herself was not at all wealthy. She was a domestic servant. “Greeley was often seen carrying firewood, clothes, or food down alleyways to someone in need. She begged for dresses from wealthy women and restored them for working class girls so they would be able to attend church or go to a social gathering. She also passed out Catholic literature to firemen, especially leaflets about the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which she became an apostle for after” her conversion.
Her charity and devotion extended to the point when she reportedly gave her own burial plot to a destitute man and participated in 40 hours of devotion, kneeling motionless and absorbed in adoration of the Eucharist.
Scottish Venerable’s cause gets publicity boost with star’s death
The death of British television legend Sir Jimmy Savile has re-ignited hopes for the beatification of the Scottish nun he always believed saved his life as a baby. The host of the famous British TV show “Top of the Pops,” which hosted the Beatles, Stones, Who, and other noted rock acts, attributed his recovery from a serious illness when he was two years old to the intercession of the Venerable Margaret Sinclair.
Sinclair was born in 1900 and brought up in poverty in an Edinburgh slum. She worked in a local biscuit factory and was active in the trade union movement before joining a cloistered order of Poor Clare nuns in London’s Notting Hill area in 1923.
Upon becoming a nun, she took the religious name Mary Francis of the Five Wounds. However, she died just two years later from tuberculosis at the age of 25.
She quickly gained a reputation as “Edinburgh’s wonder worker” and was declared venerable by Pope Paul VI in 1978. The papal declaration means that the Church found she lived a life marked by virtue.
Despite numerous claims of a miracle, such as Sir Jimmy’s, none have fully satisfied the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. If a miracle is approved, it would pave the way for her beatification.
Pope canonizes three new saints
Pope Benedict canonized three new saints on October 23. Luigi Guanella, founder of three religious orders, including one in Chicago; Guido Maria Conforti, founder of the Xaverian Missionaries, who lived 1865-1931; and the Spanish religious Bonifacia Rodriguez Castro, 1837-1905, founder of the Servants of St. Joseph, a congregation originally dedicated to educating poor women.
An anniversary that sadly went unremarked upon in most places was beautifully commemorated on October 31 in Rome at its famous “bones” church. On that day no fewer than three cardinals commemorated the 42 Iraqi men and women, priests, religious, and laity, who lost their lives one year before when terrorists burst into Baghdad’s Our Lady of Salvation Church and opened fire. Because they were killed precisely for their religious faith, their beatification cause as martyrs is being sought in Rome. This does not require the same five year waiting period that is normally needed after someone’s death. Furthermore, if the Holy Father recognizes them as having died for the Faith, they will not need the usual miracle required for beatification. They will, however, need that miracle to receive universal recognition as saints. In other words, they can be declared blesseds, which means that, while they are in heaven, their veneration will be technically limited to their local diocese or nation. Canonization, on the other hand, would extend recognition of their presence in heaven to the universal Church.
Vatican investigators can expect to investigate a possible second miracle attributed to the intercession of Bl. John Paul II. The alleged miracle concerns the healing of a Mexican woman, Sara Guadalupe Fuentes Garcia who was suddenly cured of a life threatening tumor that blocked as much as 80 percent of her throat.
According to the woman who lives in the Yucatan, during the time relics of the late beloved pope were visiting, she had placed a photograph of Bl John Paul II on her chest and throat and prayed for his intercession with God to heal her.
The Vatican reveals that the Most Rev Juan Gomez Parada, Bishop of Yucatan is now investigating the incident and gathering medical documentation and independent testimonies. The extensive paperwork and detailed research he gathers from independent doctors and scientists will then be submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome.
If on further study and investigation, the miracle is recognized and approved by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the verifying documents will be presented to the Holy Father, at which point an announcement of the canonization of Bl John Paul II can be expected.
On October 19, Archbishop Carlos Osoro of Valencia opened the beatification cause of Carmelite nun Maria Carmen Crespo Roig, who lived 65 years in Ontinyent’s Monastery of the Most Precious Blood.
Sister Maria Carmen Crespo Roig, or Teresa of the Incarnation, was born in Beniarres, Spain on March 25, 1912. “From a young age she was very involved in the life of her parish and worked tirelessly in its activities and movements,” the Archdiocese of Valencia said.
During the Spanish Civil War in 1936, she risked her life to help priests and nuns who were in need of assistance. In 1941, she entered the Carmelite convent at Ontinyent, “where she lived for the Church and the salvation of souls” until her death on Feb. 4, 2006.
John Moore, 61-years-young, of Gallup, NM, is on a 630-mile walk from the National Cemetery in Santa Fe to the hometown of the Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun to promote the beatification cause of the holy priest who died as a POW in a North Korean prison. Fr. Kapaun was a chaplain in the Korean Conflict who was captured in battle and who, despite starvation, torture, and other abuse, spent the rest of his earthly life ministering to his fellow POWs. Eventually, the maltreatment cost him his life. So great was his dedication to his fellow prisoners, that, after the POWs’ release, a Jewish soldier who’d been incarcerated with him, even sculpted a beautiful crucifix, a replica of which Moore carried on his back from New Mexico to Kansas.
The Archdiocese of New York has formally opened the beatification cause of Bishop James Walsh, co-founder of the Maryknoll Society. A complicating factor in helping the cause go forward is that it apparently is something of an afterthought. There are very few people still living who actually knew His Excellency, who died in 1936. As a result, his will be what is called an “historical cause,” which will mean that the proof given of his sanctity will depend less on eyewitness testimony and more on historical records such as news accounts, his writings, and other documents.
Bishop Walsh was born in Cambridge, MA, home of Harvard University, where he actually studied accounting. He eventually received his degree from nearby St. John’s seminary. He had done some post-seminary work with the Vincentians at St. Sulpice where he learned of a famous martyr in Vietnam, St. Théophane Vénard, MEP. The more he studied St. Théophane’s story, the more certain he became that the maxim “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church” was amongst the truest statements ever recorded. Recognizing that martyrs were often missionaries, he increasingly recognized the importance of evangelizing foreign nations. In 1903, he became diocesan director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, where he had to raise money for overseas missions. There he further developed his thoughts on the importance of missionary work, even founding The Field Afar magazine to promote foreign evangelization work. That publication eventually became Maryknoll magazine, which I got as a kid, and which I really enjoyed. Finally, in 1911, with the approval of Pope St. Pius X, he and Fr. Thomas Price obtained approval for the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, which is now better known as the Maryknoll Fathers.
Parishioners and pastors around the country were made guilty of violating the 10th Commandment in mid-November when it was announced that St. Mary Church, a parish in Greeley, CO, had received a first class relic of Bl. John Paul the Great from no less than the late pontiff’s own secretary, Stanisław Cardinal Dziwisz. The relic was a drop of blood from the beatified pope, which makes it a first class relic , and it was given because the pastor, a native Pole wanted something personal of Bl. John Paul’s to have as a reminder of the impact of World Youth Day 1993, which did so much to change the Church in Denver and this nation, really.
Interestingly, if the archdiocese’s exorcist needs a powerful relic, he ought to ask the parish to borrow theirs. Several exorcists have reported that when John Paul II is called upon during this ancient rite against demonic possession, the demon screams in great anguish. He’s like St. Gemma Galgani and Bl. Mother Teresa in that respect.
Sixty-seven years to the day and minute after the Nazis caused his death by decapitation, Angelo Cardinal Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints beatified His Excellency Carl Lampert, Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Innsbruck during World War II. After Hitler became Germany’s Chancellor (like our nation’s president), he set in wheels the annexation of Austria to help accomplish his vision of a pan-German state that would encompass all Germanic peoples regardless of national boundaries. Despite huge popular support for this, the Church by and large opposed this, and Bishop Lampert was a leader in this effort in his state of Tyrol. This set in motion the events that led to his martyrdom when the Nazis guillotined him on November 13 at 4:00 pm, along with Frs. Herbert Simoleit and Friederich Lorenz. He died saying, “Jesus and Mary.”
Bl. Carl was the youngest of seven children, and he lost his father at a very young age. At 20, he entered the Prince Archbishop Seminary in what is now Bressanone, Italy, but which was then Brixen, Austria, and received Holy Orders four years later. After a successful stint as a college chaplain, his bishop sent him to Rome to study canon law, where he not only earned his degree but the title “Monsignor.”
The Vatican made him essentially deputy bishop—or “pro-vicar”—of Innsbruck in 1936, and this is what led to his clashes with the Nazis. The regional governor was a rabid anti-Catholic Nazi named Franz Hofer, who began closing monasteries and convents and having consecrated persons arrested. Because Msgr. Lampert opposed him for this, he had him arrested. Then when diocesan priest, Bl. Otto Neururer, the first priest martyred by the Nazis, was murdered, Lampert had the news printed in the diocesan newspaper, which violated Nazi censorship rules, and so he was arrested again, and this time he was deported to first Dachau and then Sachenhausen, where his sentence consisted of hard labor. After three months, he was sent back to Dachau, where he spent another eight months. In August 1941, he was paroled to his home province. A year-and-a-half later, however, the Nazis once again arrested him on trumped up charges. In the ensuing trials, one court found him guilty, another innocent (after which the judge committed “suicide”), and another guilty again, after which the judges sentenced him to death. His beatification process has only been in process since 1997, which is a really short time. Fourteen years between the start of a process and beatification is really the blink of an eye.