AFTER a long pandemic pause, Pope Francis celebrated a Mass for the canonisation of 10 men and women – five from Italy, three from France, one from India and one from the Netherlands on May 15.
The “big names” – globally – in the newly recognised heavenly host St Charles de Foucauld, who lived as a hermit in North Africa, and St Titus Brandsma, a Dutch Carmelite martyred at the Dachau concentration camp.
Those canonised will bring the number of saints Pope Francis has recognised officially during his pontificate to 909; the figure includes the 813 “Martyrs of Otranto,” who were killed in the southern Italian city in 1480 and declared saints in 2013.
The last canonisation ceremony was celebrated on October 13, 2019, and included St John Henry Newman.
Special prayer: Melissa Villalobos, of Chicago, lights a candle during a vigil on October 12 in advance of the canonisation of St John Henry Newman, at the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome. Mrs Villalobos’ healing through the intercession of St John Henry Newman was accepted as the miracle needed for the British cardinal’s canonisation. He was canonised in Rome on October 13. Photo: CNS/Paul Haring
In view of the canonisation ceremony, the Congregation for Saints’ Causes has published a brief biography of each of the 10 new saints and information about the miracle attributed to their intercession needed for their canonisations.
While the church does not require the recognition of a miracle for the beatification of a martyr, it generally requires one for all blesseds to be declared saints.
The 10, listed in the order the congregation lists them, are:
Blessed Devasahayam Pillai, an Indian layman and father who was born to an upper-caste Hindu family in 1712 and converted to Christianity in 1745. The Vatican said his refusal to participate in Hindu ceremonies and his preaching about “the equality of all people,” denying the Hindu caste system, led to his arrest, torture and his death in 1752.
The only details the Vatican provided about the miracle in his case was that it involved “the resuscitation of a fetus at the 20th week of pregnancy of an Indian woman” and that a diocesan inquiry into the case was held in 2015.
Blessed César de Bus, the France-born founder of the Fathers of Christian Doctrine, a religious congregation dedicated to education, pastoral ministry and catechesis. Born in 1544, he enjoyed life and parties until he had a conversion experience in his early 30s and began dedicating his life to prayer and helping the poor. Ordained to the priesthood in 1582, he was a pioneer in educating the laity in the faith, using illustrations he painted himself and songs and poetry he wrote. He died in 1607.