The Road to canonization – Fr. Shijo Kanjirathamkunnel, C.M. Postulator General at the General Curia in Rome offers the following report on the status of 21 “causes” as they progress along the road to possible canonization. (There are a number of other members of the wider Vincentian Family who are also on this journey. FamVin would welcome knowing more about them and invites you to comment on this story.)
Beatifications in Process for the Vincentian Family
In the New Testament, the word “saint” literally means “holy”, referring to all who believed in Jesus Christ and followed His teachings (e.g., Ephesians 1:1 and 2 Corinthians 1:1). However, from the very beginning of the history of Christianity as it spread far and wide, this term was used for Christians who lived in an extraordinary way, practicing the theological and cardinal virtues, along with others who struggled to live the values of the Gospel. Eventually, the word “saint” was narrowly applied to such people who are venerated after their death through an official proclamation by the Roman Pontiff after the completion of the prescribed canonization procedure in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Beatification is a Pontifical Act through which the Roman Pontiff permits a limited cult to the Blessed. Canonization is an Infallible Pontifical Act through which Roman Pontiff orders the universal cult to the saint. However, there has to be separate decision to add the feast of the Saint to the universal calendar of the Church.
We need saints who have shown examples through their particular path of holiness and their particular witness to Christ and the Gospel. We need our own saints who lived the Vincentian charism through their heroic life of virtue or martyrdom as examples to imitate. God has blessed our Vincentian Family with numerous Saints and Blesseds who in living the Gospel values followed the footsteps of Saint Vincent De Paul. Here I present a brief update of the beatifications in process for the Vincentian Family.
I encourage you to spread the devotion to our Saints and intercessions through our Blesseds, Venerables and Servants of God in our respective areas of ministry and to inform me if there is any presumed miracle reported through their intercession. Visitors and Visitatrices please note that if in any of our canonical provinces there is a member who is known for his/her extraordinary heroic virtuous life or martyrdom, with a reputation of sanctity spread among the people at least where he/she served, contact the Postulator General to initiate the process. A cause for canonization may be started after five years from the date of death of the proposed for canonization, although the Holy Father may vary this time for what he judges as pastoral reasons. If it is after thirty years, the reasons for the delay is to be justified.
1. Venerable Most Reverend Giovanni Francesco GNIDOVEC CM (1873-1939)
Born at Veliki Lipovec (Ljubljana, Slovenia) on 29 September 1873, he died at Ljubljana on 3 February 1939. The Positio super Virtutibus was submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the year 2000. A miracle attributed through the intercession of Gnidovec was presented to the Congregation in 2007. Two medical experts officially nominated by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints gave negative votes on the absolute inexplicability of the healing presented. We need more proves.
2. Venerable, Father Salvatore MICALIZZI, CM (1856-1937)
Born at Naples, Italy on 5 November 1856, he died at Naples on 14 October 1937. The diocesan process on “Virtue and the Reputation of Sanctity” was concluded in 1964. On 16 December 2006, Pope Benedict XVI authorized the promulgation of the decree on heroic virtue. A miracle attributed to the intercession of Fr. Salvatore Micalizzi was presented to the Congregation in 2000. A third consultation of a medical team was requested on 27 October 2010 regarding the miracle. The cure was presented with a new analysis and explanations with the testimony of Prof. Andrea Tessitore of the University of Naples, because the healing presented as the miracle was judged extraordinary, exceptional, sudden and irreversible but not completely and absolutely inexplicable.
3. Servant of God Father Giovanni Battista Manzella CM, (1855 -1937)
Born at Soncino, Italy on 21 January 1855, he died on 28 October 1937 surrounded by a great reputation of sanctity that lasts even today. When Pope John Paul II visited Sardegna, he called Father Giovanni Battista as the Apostle of Sardegna. The diocesan inquiry on the “Virtue and the Reputation of Sanctity” was completed and handed over to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 1964. This cause is blocked due to some objections to the documents presented and we are trying to solve it.
4. Servant of God Most Reverend Antônio Ferreira Viçoso CM (1787-1875)
Born at Peniche, Leira (Portugal) on 13 May 1787, he died at Mariana (Brazil) on 7 July 1875. The Positio super Virtutibus was presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 2002. On 5 March 2013, the Theological Consultors gave it a positive vote.
5. Servant of God Father José María Fernández Sánchez and XXXVIII Companions
Born at Oviedo, Spain on 15 January 1875, he was martyred at Vallecas on 23 October 1936 during the Spanish Revolution, together with other 38 companions. The diocesan inquiry from Madrid was submitted to the Congregation in 2006. The Positio super Martyrio was submitted in 2009. This matter is before the Theological Consultors awaiting a vote. Of the 39 martyred, 17 were priests, 16 were brothers, and six were members of the Miraculous Medal Association.
6. Servant of God Father Vicente Queralt Lloret CM XX Companions
Born at Barcelona, Spain on 17 November 1894, he was martyred in Barcelona on 30 November 1936, during the Spanish Revolution, together with twenty other martyrs. The diocesan inquiry was submitted in 2006. The Positio super Martyrio was submitted in 2009. Among the twenty companions killed included confreres, Daughters of Charity, and lay Vincentian collaborators.
7. Servant of God Sr. Justa Domínguez de Vidaurreta e Idoy DC (1875-1958)
Born at Azpeitia (Spain) on 2 November 1875, she died at Madrid on18 December 1958. The Positio super Virtutibus was presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 2001. It is currently awaiting a vote of the Theological Consultors. A miracle attributed through the intercession of Sr. Justa was presented in 2003, and the medical team gave it a positive vote, in view of the future medical consultation (7 Doctors) which will take place after the Decree is issued on the Heroic Virtues.
8. Servant of God Santiago Masarnau Fernández (1805-1882)
Born at Madrid on 10 December 1805, he died in Madrid on 14 December 1882. He was the founder of the Conference of St. Vincent de Paul in Spain. The diocesan inquiry was concluded in 2000. The Positio was submitted in 2006 and the Historical Consultors voted positively in 2007. It is currently waiting for a vote from the Theological Consultors.
9. Servant of God Most Reverend Bonaventura Codina y Augerolas, CM (1785-1857).
Born at Hostarlic, Spain on 13 July 1785, he died at Las Palmas of Canarias on 18 November 1857. The diocesan inquiry started in 2005 and was presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 2001. After obtaining the validity of the diocesan inquiry on 1 February 2002, the writing of the Positio is underway.
10. Servant of God Most Reverend Emilio Lissón Chave, CM (1872-1961)
Born at Arequipa (Peru) on 24 May 1872, he died at Valencia, Spain on 24 December 1961. The diocesan inquiry on the fame of virtue and sanctity began on 20 September 2003 and was given to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 2008. After obtaining validation on 2 July 2010, the work of the Positio is ongoing.
11. Servant of God Sr. Gabriella Borgarino, DC (1880-1949)
Born at Boves, Italy on 2 September 1880, and she died at Luserna on 1 January 1949. The diocesan inquiry was presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 2004, and the decree of validity was given in 2005. A miracle attributed to the servant of God was presented on December 5, 2012 and is waiting to be validated.
12. Servant of God Sr. Anna Cantalupo, DC (1888-1983)
Born at Naples, Italy on 3 September 1888, she died at Catania on 17 March 1983. The diocesan inquiry opened in 1997, concluded in 2008, and was approved by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 18 September 2009.
13. Servant of God Sr. Francesca Benicia de Oliveira, DC (1896-1966)
Born at Redencão (Brazil) on 23 August 1896, she died at Batu-rité-Ceará (Brazil) on 6 July 1966. The diocesan inquiry started in 1995 and was given to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 2001. It was approved on 16 March 2012.
14. Servant of God Sr. Cecilia CharrínDC (1890-1973)
Born at Saint Etienne-des-Oulliers (Rhone, in France) on 17 February 1890, she died in Guatemala on 13 July 1973. In 2006 the diocesan inquiry began, and was handed over to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in September 2013. Verification of the documents submitted will begin on 3 March 2014.
15. Servant of God Most Reverend Schraven, CM and Companions (Martyrs in China)
Born at Lottum Limburg on 13 October 1873, he died on 9 October 1937. The diocesan inquiry was completed in the Netherlands and was sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 10 February 2014.
16. Servant of God Sr. Barbara Samulowska, DC (1865-1950)
Born at Woryty, Gietzwald (north Poland) in 1865, she died in the city of Guatemala on 6 December 1950. The diocesan inquiry opened on 2 February 2005.
17. Servant of God Father Giuseppe Florko, CM and X Poland companions martyrs
Born on 8 May 1915 at Winnikach (Leopoli), he was martyred in the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen, (Bassa Sassonia), on 25 February 1945 under the Nazi persecution. The diocesan inquiry started in Cracovia on 17 September 2003.
Other causes that are at the beginning stage
18. Czeslaw Levandowski CM – 1864-1934 (Poland 2005)
19. Jan Havlic CM 1927-1965 (Slovakia 2010)
20. Jules Garrigoues and companions (martyrs in China)
21. Chevrier Ou and 10 companions DC (martyrs in China)
Glossary of Terms:
Positio Super Martyrio or Positio super Virtutibus: This is a study done on the life and virtues of a servant of God, which contains essential information, history of the cause, sources and criteria of the study, briefly annotated biography, details of reputation of sanctity, virtues and intercessory power. It is to verify the moral certitude regarding the presumed martyrdom suffered by the servant of God or the presumed heroism of the virtues practiced by the servant of God to be examined by the dicastery’s consulters.
Diocesan Inquiry: It is a process instructed by the competent Bishop for collecting the proofs pro et contra for the beatification and canonization of a servant of God died in the concept of sanctify. The diocesan inquiry stage of the process is divided into two separate areas of investigation: the inquiry into heroic virtues or martyrdom; and the inquiry into ‘signs” or miracles attributed to the intercession of the candidate.
Theological and Historical Consultors: The Positio is studied by two teams of Consultors from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, namely, the Theological Consultors and the Historical Consultors who then take up a vote. Then it is passed on to the Congregation of Cardinals and Bishops. If the vote is affirmative, the recommendation of a Decree of Heroic Virtues is sent to the Holy Father, whose judgment is final. Once the Heroic Virtues have been recognized by the Pope, a Servant of God will be called Venerable.
The Positio is given to the Historical Consultors when a cause needs an exceptional historical support to judge the validity of the facts. (e.g., when a cause is initiated after many years of the death of the Servant of God or when the witnesses are less or homogeneous for the Diocesan Process).