This weekend the Church will recognize five men and women as saints as Pope Benedict XVI presides over the first of two scheduled Canonization Masses this year. Italy is strongly represented in this new group of saints:
- Italian diocesan priest Blessed Arcangelo Tadini. His ministry coincided with the Industrial Revolution and much of his work was with labourers, including the establishment of the Congregation of Worker Sisters of the Holy House of Nazareth, a group that aimed to educate young working women . According to a biography, Fr. Tadini "held up the example of Jesus, [to the Congregation he founded], who not only sacrificed himself on the Cross, but spent the first 30 years of his life in Nazareth where he was not ashamed to use a carpenter's tools or to have calloused hands and a brow bathed in sweat." He died in in 1912.
- An Italian abbot from the 1300s, Blessed Bernardo Tolomei, was the founder of the Olivetan Benedictine Congregation, more specifically the Order of Our Lady of Mount Olivet. Born in Sienna, Blessed Bernardo was a recognized theologian and died at 76 years old after caring for those who were stricken by the plague.
- Blessed Nuno De Santa Maria Alvares Pereira was a successful military general for Portugal who went on to become a lay member of the Order of Friars of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. He joined the Carmelites after the death of his wife, and lived at Lisbon's Carmo Convent until his death on Easter Sunday 1431. A great devotee to Our Blessed Mother, he was known for his prayer and penance.
- Italian foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, Blessed Gertrude Comensoli died early last century. The charism for her Institute was the education of girls and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Greatly devoted to the Eucharist, Blessed Gertrude died while in Adoration. The congregation she founded has 90 communities in South America, Africa, and Europe today.
- Blessed Caterina Volpicelli was the Italian foundress of the Institute of Handmaidens of the Sacred Heart, who lived during the 1800s. At the age of 15 her life changed after meeting Blessed Ludovico da Casoria. The priest encouraged her to devote her life to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She established the Institute to “to revive love for Jesus Christ in hearts, in families, and in society.” At her beatification Servant of God John Paul II said: "She also knew how to draw from the Eucharist that missionary zeal that led her to express her vocation in the Church, submitting with docility to pastors, and [being] prophetically oriented to the promotion of the laity and new forms of consecrated life."
You can watch the Canonization of these five this Sunday, April 26th, on Salt + Light Television. We will be broadcasting live from Rome, the Holy Mass and Canonization presided over by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI at 4am ET with an encore presentation at 9:30am ET. English and French translation will be available.
Let us thank God for the witness of these holy men and women, and pray for their intercession that we too may one day join them in the communion of Saints!