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Saints in the News: June 2020

A round-up of a number of recent stories about commemorations, causes, and other events.

"Communion of the Saints" in a Baptistry in Padua (José Luiz | Wikipedia)

Special Mass to take place

On Monday, June 22, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, the Mattie Stepanek Guild will sponsor a Mass to commemorate the sixteenth anniversary of the passing of poet and peace activist Mattie Stepanek, as well as to promote his cause for canonization. Stepanek, who died at age 13, touched the hearts of many. These ranged from ordinary people to notables such as Oprah Winfrey, EWTN host Raymond Arroyo, and former President Jimmy Carter, who called the boy “the most extraordinary person whom I have ever known.” The liturgy will be broadcast live from the Catholic University of America on Facebook.

Sainthood causes advance

On Wednesday, May 27, Pope Francis advanced the causes of seven candidates for beatification and canonization.

His Holiness recognized miracles attributed to the prayers of three blesseds, Charles de Foucauld, Cesare de Bus and Maria Domenica Mantovani. All three will undergo canonization at a future date.

He also approved decrees recognizing the validity of miracles attributed to the intercession of Ven. Pauline Jaricot, foundress of the Living Rosary, and of Ven. Fr. Michael McGivney, who founded the Knights of Columbus. Both may now be beatified by the Church and received the title of “Blessed”.

Additionally, he agreed with the determination that Fr. Simeon Cordon and Companions, as well as Fr. Cosma Spessotto, OFM, died in odium fidei, that is, as martyrs. This clears the way for their respective beatifications.

De Bus was a solider-turned-painter-turned-sailor who fell away from his faith to live a life of dissipation and sin for three years in Paris. After a conversion experience, however, he received holy orders and became a zealous priest with a passion for catechesis.

De Foucauld was a military officer known for living a dissolute lifestyle. He was so promiscuous, his superiors disciplined him. His heart converted, however, and he entered the Trappists, became a hermit in the holy land, and attempted to found a religious order that would witness to Muslim Berbers in French Algeria. During World War I, rebels murdered him.

Mantovani co-founded the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.

McGivney was a tireless parish priest best known for founding the Knights of Columbus.

The Vatican related that Jaricot “founded the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, dedicated to helping missionary efforts worldwide; and the Living Rosary Association, whose associates are committed to saying a decade of the Rosary each day.”

Simon Cordon and his five companions were Trappists at the order’s abbey in Casamari, Italy. Napoleon’s French troops entered the abbey on May 13, 1799, and proceeded to kill every brother they could find. All the while, they expressed their hatred of the monks’ faith and desecrated the precious species.

Spessotto was an Italian Franciscan who spent 30 years ministering in El Salvador. He was murdered for defending the poor.

More sainthood causes advance

Earlier in May, the Pope advanced the causes of five other persons. Possibly the most notable was the declaration of heroic virtue for Matteo Farina, who died in 2009 at age 18 and spent his life spreading the gospel. The others were the Spanish laywoman María de la Concepción Barrecheguren Garcia and her father Francisco Barrecheguren Montagut, plus two Italian priests, Francesco Caruso and Carmelo De Palma.

A favor, please

The beatification cause of the Ven. Br. Norbert McAuliffe, SC, is asking for the faithful to report any favors received due to his intercession. Born in Manhattan, McAuliffe was a Brother of the Sacred Heart who moved to Uganda in 1931 to inaugurate and lead the Brothers’ mission there. With the exception of period encompassing World War II (1939-1945), Br. Norbert served the people of northern Uganda until his death after a brief illness on July 3, 1959.

Those who have received healing, favors, or graces through Brother’s intercession may email or write the postulators of his cause in care of the Fratelli de Sacro Cuore; Attn: Br. Albert Faye, SC; Piazza del Sacro Cuore, 3; 00151 Roma Italia.

Pope takes interest in queen’s cause

On April 22, the Spanish publication Religión Digital reported that Pope Francis is personally promoting the cause of the Servant of God Queen Isabella the Catholic of Spain (1451-1504). Her Majesty is best known for having sent Christopher Columbus on his expedition of discovery to the New World. However, she is also renowned for having finally liberated the Iberian Peninsula of all Muslim occupation. “The Pope asked us to take up again the cause of Isabelle the Catholic, during the last assembly of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America,” reported His Eminence Antonio Cardinal Canizares Llovera, archbishop of Valencia. Begun in 1958, the Queen’s cause ground to a halt in 1991 due to her having expelled her nation’s Jews from Spain.

Pope’s parents may be saints

The Archdiocese of Kraków has formally opened the beatification cause for Emilia and Karol Wojtyła, parents of Pope St. John Paul II. As he did for the sainted pontiff’s canonization effort, Msgr. Sławomir Oder will serve as postulator.

Day’s cause progressing

The postulators for the cause of the Servant of God Dorothy Day report the compiling of her positio is going well. They believe it should be ready to send to Rome by next year.

Foundation established

The Holy Father has established an organization to more deeply study the life of his predecessor, the Servant of God Pope John Paul I. In a rescript dated April 28, Francis states it will be called the John Paul I Vatican Foundation. A news release from the Vatican Press Office states its purpose “is the promotion and dissemination of awareness of the thought, works and example of” the late pontiff.

Concerned with offending the communists

In March, Union of Catholic Asian News reported that sensitivity over relations with communist China has stalled the beatification cause of the Servant of God Ignatius Cardinal Kung Pin Mei. Kung was bishop of Shanghai when the communists imprisoned him for 30 years. The same reason is said to be the cause for the slowing of the cause of the Servant of God Bishop Francis Ford, whom the Chinese communists martyred.

Papers sent to Rome

Postulators for the beatification cause of the Servant of God Archbishop Teofilo Camomot report that they have sent his positio to Rome. Now it remains for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to sift through the hundreds of pages to determine whether his cause is worthy of progressing any further.

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About BK O'Neel 29 Articles
BK O’Neel writes from Pennsylvania.


  1. While that is going on, no word on the cause of venerable bishop Sheen or venerable pope Pius XII.

    Both too politically incorrect for the times, I suppose…

    • I healing miracle attributed to the intercession of Pius XII was reported about a year and a half ago and is being researched. See also my book on, Vatican Rescue: Pope Pius XII and the Jews, in 2 volumes.

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