On June 3, 2012, the Church beatified the late Dominican priest Jean-Joseph “JJ” Lataste. Father was born in 1832 to a good Christian mother and a dad who was an atheist. From a very early age, he wanted to be a priest, but he just couldn’t let himself be convinced he was worthy.
So he went off to college, graduated in 1850, and lived at home for a year. Then from 1851-57, he was a public employee. And it was during this time that he became very active in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which was founded by his good friend, Bl. Henri Lacordaire, and it was this service to the poor that reawakened in him his burning desire to be a priest.
Therefore, he entered the Dominicans in November 1857 and, despite a few setbacks, received Holy Orders on May 10, 1862, at nearly 30 years old.
At first, he was just your normal, new zealous priest. He worked hard to give inspirational sermons, did penance for sinners, spent time in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, etc.
But then he found out about the women inmates. Back then, being a male prisoner was bad enough, but a female one? Why, women were supposed to be virtuous. As a result, they were shunned and ignored. His heart broke for them, and so he would give them retreats, and he could see the fruit his love bore in their lives.
Little by little, the women would gain their release, and he asked them if they would like to help him join a religious congregation, which was to be a part of the Dominicans. And so this is how the Sisters of Bethany came to be founded in 1866.
A sickly man all his life, Bl. “JJ” got really sick in late 1868, and he died on March 10, 1869. He is buried at the Sisters convent at Montferrand-le-Chateau, France.
Three new US Venerables
Many have heard that Archbishop Fulton Sheen has been declared “venerable,” but so have two other Americans.
The most recognizable is Bishop Frederic Baraga, who is best known as the “Snow Shoe Priest” because he served as bishop of what is now northern Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula, and back then, with no roads and often frozen water ways, he had to travel on snowshoes.
The other is Sr. Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, an American native of Bayonne, NJ, and a sister of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth. The daughter of Slovak immigrants, she went to college, graduated with honors as a literature major and taught before entering her order. She continued to teach even after entering the order, and even gave spiritual conferences, but became ill and died at age 26.
Cause of Australian woman, who was India’s first nun doctor, opened in Bangalore
The archdiocese of Bangalore, India, has opened the beatification cause of India’s first woman doctor nun, who was actually Australian. Sr. Mary Glowrey, a Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Sister, was born in the city of Victoria in 1887, and attended the University of Melbourne, where she received the highest marks in her surgery courses.
Arriving in India in 1920, the archbishop of Madras put her straight to work as a medical missionary. She founded the Catholic Hospital Association of India in 1943 so that Catholic teaching would be respected in the practice of medicine. That organization is now one of the world’s largest NGOs. Sr. Mary inspired the founding of the founding of India’s first Catholic medical school. According to one news source, she treated 100,000 patients each year.
Cause Opens for First Opus Dei Female Numerary
The papal prelature of Opus Dei has opened the cause for movement’s first female numerary, Dora del Hoyo. She began her labors for the Work in the early 1940s, when she served on the domestic staff at an Opus Dei-run female student residence in Madrid, which is how she met St. Josemaria Escriva.
In 1946, she became the movement’s first “numerary assistant,” and her job was to take care of various Opus Dei centers’ domestic duties. Later that year, St. Josemaria asked her to move to Rome to be his coworker in building up the order throughout the world. She lived in Rome until she passed in 2004. She is best remembered for not drawing attention to herself and yet being someone whom everyone loved and felt drawn to because of her humility, love, and faith. It is said she treated everyone like family.
Chilean engineer’s cause moves to the Vatican
A Chilean engineer and Schöenstatt movement member is having his cause for beatification investigated by a group of Vatican theologians.
His name was Mario Hiriart, and although family was not devout, a Schöenstatt priest helped him not only take his faith more seriously, but to try and answer the question, “How do we renew the world in Christ?”
This idea so captivated him that he became a consecrated layman of the Brothers of Mary, which belongs to the Schöenstatt movement.
After college, Mario worked as an engineer for an elite Chilean development company. But he discerned he’d be most effective in renewing society for Christ by teaching university students than by working in an office, and so he became a professor at the Catholic University of Chile. Ironically, his being so hell-bent on holiness for youth caused discord even within Schöenstatt.
Therefore in 1964 at age 33, he traveled to Milwaukee, to meet with Schöenstatt founder Fr. Joseph Kentenich. Along the way, doctors diagnosed him with stomach cancer. He died the day after meeting with Father.
“The Return of Saint Oda”
A really interesting article on the return of a saint to the calendar after she had been taken off.
First Indian laymen set on the road to canonization
And, finally, on the next-to-last day of the month, Pope Benedict placed two Indian laymen on the road to canonization.
He did this by first recognizing 18th century Hindu convert Devasahayam Pillai as a martyr. The Church claims he was martyred because he would not revert to Hinduism. Some historians say this is baseless, however. On the other hand, a blind Hindu boy received his sight after having a vision of Mr. Pillai. In any event, this recognition means he now becomes known as Bl. Devasahayam. He is the first Indian lay blessed.
Evidently, Benedict also took the unusual step of personally naming Puthenparampil Thommachan a Servant of God. Mr. Thommachan was a husband and father of three and is known, according to the UCAN news agency, “for popularizing the Franciscan Third Order in the state of Kerala. He began leading a life of piety at the age of 28 and gathered a group of lay people who prayed for sinners and engaged in charitable works. He died in 1907 at the age 72.” For his efforts, he is called the pride of Kerala and “Kerala Assisi.”