Sunday, 17 October 2010

Today's other new saints...

Unlike my friend Joshua I'm all for patriotism in relation to saints - saints cults were, after all, in origin, mostly local affairs, centred on a saints relics and the locations where they worked.  A saint particularly apt for a region or nation's sensibility can be a particular aid to the faithful, which is why we have national patron saints and so forth.

And I think the particular  value in recognising someone as a saint for general veneration gets drowned out when too many are so recognised, a problem of the Pope John Paul II era whose effects are still flowing through despite the current Pope's admirable effort in slowing down the saint-making machine in Rome.

Nonetheless, it is worth knowing something about the other saints to be canonised today...

Brother Andre



The most famous is Canadian Brother Andre, born Alfred Bessette, of Quebec.  From the wiki:

A Holy Cross Brother and a significant figure of the Roman Catholic Church among French-Canadians, credited with thousands of reported miraculous healings. He was declared venerable in 1978 and was beatified in 1982.

Born in Mont-Saint-Grégoire, Quebec (then Canada East), a small town situated 40 kilometers south-east of Montreal. His was a working class family; his father, Isaac Bessette, was a carpenter and lumberman but died when when Br Andre was only nine years old.  His mother, Clothilde Foisy Bessette, died of tuberculosis three years later. 

He was sent to live with his mother's sister, Rosalie Nadeau, and her husband Timothée, who attempted to establish Alfred in various trades, but the boy's fragile health (which would afflict him throughout his life) made sustained manual labor difficult.  Since he obviously did not have a trade, Alfred began a thirteen-year odyssey wandering from job to job with few belongings and little education. He was barely able to write his name or to read his prayer book. At various times he worked as a tinsmith, blacksmith, baker, shoemaker and wagon driver.


From his earliest days, Alfred exhibited an unusually intense spirituality. He would often spend his scant free time praying before a crucifix or evangelizing his friends, and his many self-imposed penances drew the admiring rebuke of his gentle aunt, who was concerned that the boy was endangering his already poor health.

When he was 20 years old, Alfred joined many Canadians who were emigrating to the United States to work in a textile mill of New England, then operating at full output to supply the needs of the Union army in the American Civil War.  When the Canadian Confederation was formed in 1867, he returned to his native country.

He entered the Congregation of the Holy Cross at 28, and acted as porter at his monastery for forty years.  On his many visits to the sick in their homes, he would recommend them in prayer to St. Joseph, and would anoint them lightly with oil from the lamp in the college chapel which always burned before the St. Joseph altar.  People claimed that they had been cured through the prayers of the good Brother and Saint Joseph, and they were grateful their prayers had been heard. He achieved a considerable reputation as a miracle worker, and died at the age of 91 in 1937.

Blessed Stanislao Soltys (1433-1489)

Blessed Stanisław Sołtys (27 September 1433 – 3 May 1489) was a Polish Roman Catholic priest and preacher. He received doctorates in theology and philosophy from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. In 1456 he joined Canons Regular of the Lateran. He was a friend of Saint John of Kanty.

Blessed Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola

Blessed Cándida María de Jesús (secular name Juana Josefa Cipitria y Barriola) (May 31, 1845 - August 9, 1912) was a Spanish nun. She founded the Congregation of the Hijas de Jesús (Daughters of Jesus) on December 8, 1871 in Salamanca, Spain.


She was born in Berrospe, Andoain, Guipuzcoa, in the Basque region of Spain. Her father was a weaver, and the family was poor.In 1863, when she was 23, she met Jesuit Father Miguel José Herranz, who helped her in her call to form a Congregation.  She died on August 9, 1912.

Blessed Giulia Salzano Heart (1846-1929)

Blessed Giulia Salzano is the founder of the Congregation of the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1905. She was raised and educated by the Sisters of Charity in the Royal Orphanage of Saint Nicola La Strada until the age of fifteen. She was a school teacher and catechist in Casoria, Naples, and a friend and co-worker with Saint Caterina Volpicelli. Salzano is noted for her personal devotion to the Virgin Mary. She encouraged others in devotion to Our Lady and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Blessed Battista da Varano (1458-1524)
Blessed Camilla Battista da Varano (April 9, 1458 – May 31, 1524), from Camerino, Macerata, Italy, was an Italian princess and a Poor Clares Roman Catholic nun. She was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI in 1843.

Camilla wrote extensively. Her work includes Remembrances of Jesus (1483), Praise of the Vision of Christ (1479–1481), and The Spiritual Life (1491), an autobiography from 1466-1491 which is considered a "jewel of art" and of interior (religious) life. In this work, she describes how two seraphims with wings of gold, appeared to her because they were assigned to help her understand the mysterious working of unitive love.Completed in 1488, Treatise on the Mental Sufferings of Jesus Christ our Lord, is considered a masterpiece. It is largely a series of translations of revelations which she received.

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