Sunday, October 15, 2006

Great Joy Times Four

We have great joy in the Church today! Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed four new saints for the Universal Church! Two from Italy, one from Mexico, and one from the United States.

St. Rafael Guízar Valencia (1878-1938), a bishop of Veracruz, Mexico, who is the first bishop-saint born in Latin America. Saint Rafael was ordained June 1, 1901 at the age of 23. He is the great uncle of Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi founder Fr. Marcial Maciel. St. Rafael was the brother of Fr. Maciel’s grandmother (Maura Guízar Valencia). He was also the brother of Bishop Antonio Guízar Valencia of Chihuahua.

St. Teodora Guérin (1798-1856) of France, born Anne-Thérèse, is Indiana's first saint. Sent by the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence to Indiana in 1839, the religious founded St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana in the United States.

St. Filippo Smaldone (1848-1923) of Italy was a diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Heart. He is known as the apostle of those who cannot hear or speak.

St. Rosa Venerini (1656-1728) of Italy, founded the Congregation of Religious Teachers Venerini and the first public school for girls in Italy.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) tells us the significance of these events:
By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly proclaiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God’s grace, the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as models and intercessors. “The saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church’s history.” Indeed, “holiness is the hidden source and infallible measure of her apostolic activity and missionary zeal.” (CCC 828)

It would be nice to see some new churches be named after these saints!

Photo: Saint Rafael Guízar Valencia
Reference: ZE06101505
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