Canonization 2019

On October 13, 2019, during Mass in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis will canonize five new saints: an English intellectual, a pioneer in charitable healthcare in Brazil, the Italian founder of a religious order, a simple Swiss seamstress, and an Indian mystic.

Salt + Light Media will be providing coverage of this event, including a broadcast of the Canonization Mass.

Keep reading to learn more about these five remarkable people and their journey to sainthood.

But What Is a Canonization?

A canonization is a statement by the Church that a person who has lived a holy life is now with God in heaven. While it’s often mistakenly expressed that the Church “creates” or “makes” saints, the reality is that a person’s holiness speaks for itself. Through the process of beatification and canonization, the Church is merely offering a definitive and formal recognition of the sanctity of a faithful person who has died. The term “canonization” refers to the notion that with this formal recognition a person’s name should be placed within the “canon” of the saints, the list of all who are universally venerated by the Church. Acclaimed as holy and admirable examples of the faith, these saints may be invoked in the official prayers of the Church, churches may be built in their honour, a feast day is set aside in their memory, and they may be designated as special patrons. All those who are canonized are united to the Church as powerful intercessors, and we ask, therefore, for their prayers and those of the whole communion of saints.

Saints to be:

John Henry Newman

John Henry Newman is arguably the most famous convert ever to have come to the Roman Catholic Church from the Anglican tradition. Born in 1801 in London, England, he became a well-known figure at the University of Oxford and a leader of a religious movement which strongly influenced the modern Anglican Church. In 1845, he converted to Roman Catholicism, was ordained a priest, and became the founder of the English Oratory. He is revered as a great thinker and writer but also as a man of great faith and deep spirituality. He was made a cardinal in 1879 and died in Birmingham in 1890.

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Dulce Lopes Pontes

Born Maria Rita in Brazil in 1914, Sister Dulce was a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. She began religious life by teaching in her congregation’s school in Salvador de Bahia, but her overwhelming love for the poor drove her to do more. In 1959, she founded an organization which is now one of the foremost charitable healthcare organizations in Brazil. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988, she has been called the “Mother of the Poor” and the “Good Angel of Bahia”. She died in 1992.

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Giuseppina Vannini

Giuseppina Vannini was born Giuditta Vannini in 1859 in Rome and became an orphan at the age of seven. Though she had discerned a vocation to religious life, she was unsure of where she belonged at first. Together with Fr. Luigi Tezza, in 1895 she founded the Daughters of St. Camillus, an all-female religious congregation dedicated to caring for the sick. Despite some difficulties, the congregation grew, first in Italy and then spreading to France, Argentina, and Belgium, before finally gaining official ecclesiastical approval in 1909. Mother Giuseppina died in 1911 at the age of 51.

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Mariam Thresia Mankidiyan

Thresia Mankidiyan was born in Kerala, India, in 1876. Pious from a very young age, she longed for a life of contemplation, prayer, and penance in solitude, but her deep devotion to Christ led her instead to a life of service to the poor, the sick, and the lonely. She founded the Congregation of the Holy Family, an order which combined both aspects of her spiritual life. Calling herself Mariam Thresia, this pious, selfless woman had a number of mystical experiences, including the stigmata and visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She died in 1926 in a convent which she had founded.

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Marguerite Bays

Marguerite Bays was a simple seamstress with a devotion to the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. When she is canonized on October 13, she will become only the second modern saint from Switzerland. Born in 1815 to a humble farming family, she lived a simple life of work and devotion. She also cared for the sick and the poor in her community. When she was 35, she experienced a miraculous cure from bowel cancer and later also received the stigmata, which she attempted, unsuccessfully, to hide. She died in 1879.

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