Postage for Pakistan and other parts of the planet

Friday, January 27, 2012

Saints news for December 2011

Van Thuan beatification effort gets new impetus

Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City has appealed to Catholics to bear witness to the late Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan’s beatification process before a Vatican delegation in March.

Cardinal Man announced on January 1 that the delegation from the Vatican-based Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace plans to visit Vietnam from March 23 to April 9 to meet and listen to witnesses with regard to Cardinal Thuan’s beatification cause, which was officially launched by the pontifical council on October 22, 2010.

Cardinal Thuan was named coadjutor archbishop of Saigon archdiocese seven days before South Vietnam fell to the communist North on April 30, 1975.

The communist authorities rejected his appointment and imprisoned him for 13 years, nine of them in solitary confinement in the north. Released in 1988, he was allowed to travel overseas in 1991. While abroad, he was barred from returning to Vietnam.

In 1994, Blessed John Paul called him to Rome and appointed him vice-president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. He later became president of the council from 1998 until he died of cancer at age 74 in 2002.

He was the first Vietnamese prelate to hold a high Vatican office.

Vice postulator of Irish beato passes

Dom Mark Tierney of Glenstal Abbey, Co. Limerick, has died at age 86. While best known for his history books, one could say his main interest was the beatification of Bl. Dom Columba Marmion, OSB.

According to the Irish Times, “he wrote Dom Columba Marmion: a Biography in 1994. Another edition of this was published under the title Blessed Columba Marmion: a short biography in 2000 to coincide with the beatification of Columba Marmion that year.

Fr Tierney was vice-postulator for the cause of Blessed Columba Marmion who, like himself, was a Dubliner and a Benedictine.

On September 3rd, 2000, Columba Marmion was beatified by Pope John Paul II alongside Pope John XXIII and Pope Pius IX. In attendance at the beatification ceremony was Pat Bitzan, from St Cloud, Minnesota, the woman believed to have been “miraculously” cured from cancer in 1966 thanks to the intervention of Dom Columba Marmion.

Born in Dublin of an Irish father and Belgian mother in April 1858, Dom Columba studied at Belvedere College and Holy Cross seminary in Clonliffe, as well as serving as a curate in Dundrum, before deciding to become a Benedictine monk. It meant moving to Belgium as there were no Benedictine monasteries in Ireland at the time. He spent most of his adult life in Belgium, dying at the monastery of Maredsous there in 1923.”

Taos, NM, artist helps move along a beatification cause

Taos artist Lloyd Rivera has unwittingly become an assistant in the beatification cause of Ven. Mary of Agreda.

Ven. Mary, who is still famous for her famous work, Mystical City of God, and whose corpse is incorrupt inside the chapel of the abbey where she died in 1665 at age 63, had her cause introduced in June 1672.

However, something else for which she is famous is bringing the faith to the indigenous tribes of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, and that’s before the first missionaries to the region even had left Spain, even though she never left that country. She appeared to them as the lady in the blue mantle. Thus she must have had the ability to bilocate.

Rivera, noticing that “santeros,” painters of traditional religious folk art were creating plenty of representations of Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Raphael, St. Michael, and other saints, none were painting Ven. Mary of Agreda.

The Taos News reported, “The Lady in Blue was venerated shortly after her death by Pope Clement X, but her status has never changed since due possibly to a variety of misinterpretations of her writings. However, international efforts to move her beatification process forward apparently are underway.

“It’s been almost 410 years since she was born, but Rivera is determined to never let her name be forgotten.”

Beatification cause of early female Opus Dei member goes to Rome

On November 21, 2001, Antonio Maria Cardinal Rouco y Varela, archbishop of Madrid, formally opened the canonization cause of Guadalupe Ortiz de Landazuri. Now word comes that a complete study of her life along with a possible miracle have been forwarded to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for consideration of her beatification.

The first time she met St. Josemaria Escriva, she walked in, and there was the best reproduction of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for whom she’d been named, she’d ever seen. She had been named for La Virgen given that she was born on her feast in 1916. And she had gone to see St. Josemaria for spiritual direction because she didn’t know what to do with her life. She was profoundly committed to God, but she also had all this education and this beauty and these talents. People were telling her, “Marry! Marry!” but her heart longed to follow God. So St. Josemaria told her that “professional and ordinary life are where she could find Christ.” Keep in mind: At the time, especially before Vatican II, which essentially encouraged the laity to do just this, this was a somewhat radical idea (although you can find its expression in St. Francis de Sales and others throughout the centuries; it’s just that this message was easily obscured).

It wasn’t long after that that she decided to request membership in Opus Dei. From this point on, she lived in the world but was not of the world, and the range of apostolic initiatives she undertook were pretty impressive.

In 1951, St. Josemaria asked her to begin the work for women in Mexico, and she helped so many young ladies come to Christ and find the joy that only comes by living in Him. She also worked with professionals and young mothers.

Because she was a numerary, she never married, and she was just this beautiful woman. And so smart, too. She held a doctorate in chemistry, she taught, and she worked in the government of Opus Dei. To the end of her life on July 16, 1975, she never stopped trying to bring people closer to Christ, and did so usually by simply being a friend, by being cheerful and joyful.

Cause of Cuban patriot priest advances

When people think of the drive for Cuban independence, they’re not likely to think of Fr. Felix Varela. And yet Fr. Varela’s patriotism made him a wanted man. King Ferdinand of Spain had issue a warrant for arrest precisely because his agitation for the liberty of his island nation. In fact, things got so hot for him, he fled his homeland in 1823.

After this, he spent the next 30 years as a priest, mostly in the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, but he was even vicar general for the Archdiocese of New York for a while. He died in 1853, and in 1985, the bishops of Cuba asked Bl. John Paul II to open Fr. Varela’s cause.

Now, 26 years later, theologians at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints are reviewing the Cuban patriot’s case file, which is the last step before they decide whether or not to recommend that the Holy Father declare Fr. Felix Varela venerable. Remember, Benedict XVI will travel to Cuba this March, and wouldn’t it be great if he used that opportunity to promulgate the decree of heroic virtue and thus make Fr. Varela titled “Venerable”?

Salesian priest gets beatification nod

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has approved the miracle put forth for the beatification cause of Ven. Louis Brisson, who founded the Institutes of the Oblates and the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales. The miracle is really remarkable because it was a little 8-year-old boy from Ecuador who had his foot crushed by a tractor. Some Oblates of St. Francis de Sales sisters prayed a novena asking for the intercession of Ven. Louis, and the boy was cured and went on to join the US Air Force.

Ven. Louis was a French priest, born June 23, 1817, and he was handsome. He looked a lot like actor David Soul (remember the 1970s American police TV drama, “Starsky and Hutch”?). Upon receiving ordination in 1840, he was sent to teach at a monastery boarding school, where he not only taught theology and science, but he invented and astronomic clock so precise, that NASA asked to study it.

Now St. Francis de Sales – and if you don’t know him, please, Google him or, better yet, go to your local Catholic bookstore; he’s truly one of the Church’s greatest saints – even those who know a lot about him don’t know that he intended to found an order of priests, but got too busy and so never did.

Well, with the nagging and incessant nudging of a local mother superior, he finally founded that order of priests. It took a long time, though. First he founded the Catholic Association of St. Francis de Sales, which ran boarding houses for single female factory workers so they could continue their religious formation and wouldn’t be forced to rely on loose morals to pay for their board.

Then he founded with St. Leonie de Sales the Oblate Sisters. And then finally, in 1872, he founded the order of priests.

Persecuted by French secularists, he always put his trust in God. Indeed, he had this great quote: “If everything seems lost,” he said, “and everyone has already surrendered his hope, the Lord will show His might and His influence.  Then it will become clear to all that the decision lies only in His hands and we are capable of nothing.”

He died on February 2, 1908, and now he will soon be declared “Blessed.”

New Zealand bishops keen on getting their own saint

On December 13, during their recent ad limina visit to Rome, which each episcopal conference takes every five years, the bishops of New Zealand, held a meeting with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to discuss the cause of beatification of Sr. Suzanne Aubert. According to Catholic News Agency, “She was a French-born nun who arrived in New Zealand as a young woman in 1860. Albert undertook great works of charity among the sick and orphaned. She died in 1926 in Wellington.”

The Kiwi news source VOXY said Aubert founded “New Zealand’s only indigenous religious Order - the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion…. She is known and revered throughout New Zealand and the Pacific since she was among the first missionaries to come to [that] part of the world. She is remembered for her life and sanctity and for her unstinting care of the Maori people.” 

Benedict’s favorite Catholic feminist favorite Hildegard of Bingen proposed as next Church Doctor

The blog "Vatican Insider" is predicting Pope Benedict XVI will canonize Hildegard of Bingen this October “and at the same [time] recognize her as a Doctor of the Church.”

Bl. Hildegard was truly a remarkable lady, perhaps the most remarkable woman of her age. She was a prioress, a mystic, a composer, she had a theological mind like a steel trap, and her writings are still influential to this very day. She even beat the inventors of Esperanto to the punch by inventing her very own language.

If the predictions come true, she will be just the fourth female Church Doctor. And by “Doctor,” of course, we don’t mean like a medical doctor, but someone whose learning and scholarship have had a profound influence on Church teaching and such.

Busy year for Archbishop Romero cause

For those unfamiliar with Archbishop Óscar Romero, he was the bishop of San Salvador, capital of El Salvador who was assassinated as he consecrated the sacred blood during Mass on March 24, 1980. He had always been a fairly traditional priest in terms of doctrine, and because of this, his ascension to the See of San Salvador as archbishop in 1977 was greeted with dismay by some of the priests. But when the government murdered a priest friend of his for simply trying to give the poor dignity and a way of improving their lives, and the government, of course, did nothing about it, he began speaking against the poverty that was allowed to fester while the rich enjoyed the good life, the assassinations, and all the other ways the regime abused the dignity of its citizens as human persons.

An El Salvadoran blog released its annual Top 10 events concerning the beatification cause of Archbishop Oscar Romero, noting that “2011 was a strong Romero year.”

Last year, for instance, President Obama visited the late archbishop’s tomb, the website advocating his beatification put his writings online. Archbishop Romero’s being beatified apparently is such a point of national pride that El Salvador Foreign Minister lobbied the Congregation for the Causes of Saints during a trip to Rome last year. And it noted that the man suspected of having organized the hit on the Servant of God was found by one of the nation’s newspapers living in a foreign country. He reportedly is impoverished and “living in squalor.” Not surprisingly, today he totally sympathizes with what his victim was attempting to do for the poor.

Archbishop Sheen cause moves forward

On Sunday, December 11, 2011, Peoria’s Bishop Daniel Jenky celebrated a Mass that marked the formal closing of the investigation phase of a miracle they will submit in support of Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s beatification cause. The miracle is that a baby boy did not breath the first 61 minutes of life. His doctors were just about to declare him dead when the child started breathing. The parents attribute Archbishop Sheen’s intercession for which they were asking throughout the ordeal.

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