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Charles de Foucauld and India’s 1st lay martyr to be canonized May 15

Charles de Foucauld

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Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 11/09/21

After the delay caused by Covid, the Church will proclaim 7 new saints in Rome on May 15, 2022, including the 1st saint of Uruguay.

Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Charles De Foucauld, considered to be one of the pioneers of interreligious dialogue, together with six other Blesseds, during a Canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on May 15.

The announcement was made November 9 by the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. The Pope authorized the canonizations on May 3, without however setting a date for the ceremony due to the pandemic.

The last canonizations celebrated in Rome took place October 13, 2019: those of Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890) and Marguerite Bays, Dulce Lopes Pontes, Giuseppina Vannini and Marie Thérèse Chiramel Mankidiyan.

During the year 2020, for the first time since the beginning of the pontificate of Pope Francis, there were no canonization celebrated in Rome. The postulator of the cause of Charles de Foucauld, Father Bernard Ardura, explained to I.MEDIA the Vatican’s decision to postpone the celebrations.

Canonizations are not made for the saints but for us. They are an event of great ecclesial significance …

Postulator of the cause of Charles de Foucauld

“Canonizations are not made for the saints but for us,” he explained. “It is an event of great ecclesial significance and it is for this reason that a canonization takes place in the presence of the people of God. If there are no faithful, it loses its meaning.”

A miracle was attributed on May 27, 2020 to Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916), paving the way for his canonization. He was beatified in 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI. This Frenchman, after having led a military career marked by a dissolute life, then lived an existence of faith and evangelization by example in the Algerian Sahara at the beginning of the 20th century. He died assassinated in 1916.

Vatican News profiled the others to be canonized:

Blessed Lazarus (Devasahayam Pillai). Known as Devasahayam, Blessed Lazarus was a Brahmin of the Nair caste in India. Converted to Catholicism with the help of a Jesuit priest in 1745, Devasahayam Pillai took the name Lazarus when he became a Christian. In his preaching, he particularly insisted on the equality of all peoples, despite caste differences. This aroused the hatred of the higher classes and he was arrested in 1749. After enduring increasing hardships, he received the crown of martyrdom when he was shot on 14 January 1749. 

Blessed César de Bus, was ordained in 1582 in Avignon. He was profoundly affected by the life and writings of Saint Charles Borromeo whom he held up as a model, especially his devotion to the catechesis. In fact, he worked as a catechist in Aix-en-Provence during times of turmoil following the French Wars of Religion. He founded the orders of the Ursulines of Province and the Fathers of Christian Doctrine (Doctrinarians). The Fathers were disbanded during the French Revolution but an Italian branch of the Doctrinarian Fathers continues today with houses in Italy, France, and Brazil.

Blessed Luigi Maria Palazzolo, a northern Italian parish priest, he dedicated his life to abandoned, orphaned, and neglected children. Together with the Venerable Maria Teresa Gabrieli, he founded the Sisters of the Poor, an Order that continues to care for and educate girls in Brazil, Burkina Faso, Congo, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Peru and Switzerland. He died of natural causes in 1886.

Blessed Giustino Maria Russolillo, a 20th-century Italian priest, is the founder of the Society of Divine Vocations (Vocationists) which encouraged and supported those discerning a call to the priesthood and religious life. They continue their work in many countries across the world.

BlessedMaria Francesca di Gesù entered a community of women religious at the beginning of the 20th century and became the superior and formation director of the group, giving life to the Institute of the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto. Together with some Sisters, she went as a missionary to Uruguay and to Argentina. During her work in Latin America, she was asked to begin a mission in the rain forest. She died in Uruguay in 1904. Though of Italian birth, she is considered Uruguay’s first saint.

BlessedMaria Domenica Mantovani is the co-founder and first Superior General of the order of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family who can be found in Italy, Switzerland, Albania as well as in African and Latin American nations. They are dedicated to serving children and youth, families, priests, the elderly and the disabled in parishes.

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