Known affectionately as “The Little Cajun Saint,” Charlene Marie Richard was a middle school student and athlete who died at the age of 12 in 1959, just two weeks after being diagnosed with acute leukemia.
She embraced her illness bravely, uniting her sufferings with Christ. Shortly before being diagnosed, she had read a book about St. Therese of Lisieux, and asked her grandmother if she, too, could become a saint.
Charlene died on August 11, 1959, and since then many have recognized her holiness at such a young age.
Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel introduced her cause for canonization in 2020 and will close the diocesan phase of the process on January 13, 2024, her birthday.
The Diocese of Lafayette is encouraging everyone in the area to be present at the ceremony, which will be at 10 a.m. at St. Edward Church in Richard, Louisiana:
With our love and prayers, the pages of this investigation will be entrusted that day to the Official Currier, Father Korey LaVergne, Pastor of Charlene’s home parish of St. Edward in Richard, and begins the long journey to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints directly across from Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Your presence on January 13 is a plea to Pope Francis to tell the world what so many of us already believe — that Charlene Richard is a powerful Saint needed by the world in our day and times as a sign of hope that God loves us and helps us through heavenly witnesses (Rev. 8:4).
More information about the ceremony can be found on the diocesan website.