"We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always [attentive] to our prayers" (Paul VI, CPG # 30).
What a wonderful thing it is to be Catholic and to have the holy saints not only to turn to for intercession but to emulate in their love of Christ and the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us about the three states of the Church: those on earth, those in purgatory, and those in heaven: " When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating 'in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is"' (CCC 954).
It is to those in glory in heaven whom we ask for intercessory prayer. The Church will add 10 saints to this rank on May 15, 2022, when Pope Francis will canonize them at the Vatican. The papal ceremony will include the following blesseds who will be canonized:
Blessed Titus Brandsma
Blessed Titus Brandsma was a Dutch Carmelite friar who was arrested in January 1942 and sent to Dachau for treason after defending Jews and freedom of the press. He was one of more than 2,700 clergy — 2,400 of them Catholic priests — who were detained at the notorious Nazi concentration camp in Germany after he urged editors of the Dutch Catholic press to violate a new law of the Third Reich and not print any Nazi propaganda. The Nazis told him that he would be allowed to live a quiet life in a monastery if he would make a statement that Catholic newspapers should publish Nazi propaganda. The Carmelite priest refused, and for that he was subjected to hardship and starvation in the Dachau concentration camp. He died after being injected with carbolic acid on July 26 that same year. He was 61. He was beatified by St. John Paul II in 1985.
Blessed Marie Rivier
Blessed Marie Rivier was born December 19, 1768 in Montpezat, France. She experienced a bad fall as a baby and was left severely handicapped, but her pious mother faithfully carried her to a statue of the Pieta every day. Little Marie imitated her mother's devotion and meditated often on the great love she beheld in the Pieta. She became convinced the Blessed Mother would cure her, and she did! On September 8, 1774, Marie walked!
Blessed Marie founded the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in 1796 during the time of the French Revolution, when many Catholic convents were closed and religious activities were outlawed. Despite the cruel environment of the Revolution, the order, which focused on the Christian education of youth, flourished.
Blessed Carolina Santocanale
Blessed Carolina Santocanale was an Italian nun (also known as Blessed Mary of Jesus) who founded the Congregation of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate of Lourdes. Born in 1852 to the nobility class near Palermo, Italy, she was baptized at 3 days old. Even as a child, she showed great signs of piety and devotion. As she grew older, she had many offers of marriage, but she felt called instead to the religious life. A spiritual student of Father Mauro Venuti, she became a leader of the Daughters of Mary in the parish of San Antonio Abate at age 21. As her call to the religious life became stronger, she found herself torn between the contemplative cloister and working with the sick, poor, disabled, and abandoned on Palermo. In the end, Carolina became a Franciscan tertiary, taking the name Sister Maria di Gesù. Although her family was opposed to her choice, she and some like-minded tertiaries began going door to door in poor neighborhoods, wearing a backpack of supplies to assist the sick and the poor. On 24 January 1923, she founded the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate of Lourdes and to this day it continues.
Blessed Charles de Foucauld
Charles de Foucauld was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1858, and both his parents died within months of each other when he was only six years old. Although his grandfather attempted to raise him and his sister in the Church, he strayed from his faith during his adolescence. He continued to wonder about the deep faith and devotion of his cousin, Marie de Bondy, but he saw no reason for it himself. He later said about his early years: "I was so free, so young. There remained not a trace of faith in my soul." He became a soldier, but, lazy and restless, he threw parties and spent money that he had inherited when his grandfather died. He resigned from the army when he was not allowed to bring his mistress with him when he traveled. After leaving the army, he decided to explore parts of Morocco which had never been mapped. During his time there Charles recognized how devoted many of the Muslims were to their faith, and this inspired him to look at his own faith. His cousin, Marie, when he returned to France, arranged for him to meet with a priest, Fr. Huvelin, and after an "encounter" with Christ during confession and Holy Communion, he felt his life had forever changed. " The moment I realized that God existed, I knew that I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone." He joined the Trappists living in monasteries in France and Syria, before seeking an even more austere life as a hermit. He wanted to found an order and sought the blessing of his superiors. While they felt he was called to be a priest, he was not given the blessing to start an order. He turned to God and asked for His will to be done. It was the beginning of a life of surrender, he said. The blessing was finally given for Charles to found an order and he set out to Tamanrasset, Algeria, where he founded the Little Brothers of Jesus. He would spend the rest of his life there serving the poor and immersing himself in a life of prayer, but no one would join him as a follower. During this time he continued to pray and wrote about what it means to abandon oneself to divine providence. In 1916, he was killed by a band of marauders. His writings inspired the foundation after his death of the Little Brothers of Jesus and the Little Sisters of Jesus. Many pray his prayer of abandonment.
Blessed Devasahayam Pillai
Known as Lazarus, this Indian layman converted to Catholicism from Hinduism, and was killed in 1752 for refusing to refute his faith despite being brutally tortured. Pillai was an official in the court of the king of Travancore, Maharaja Marthanda Varma, when he came under the influence of Dutch naval commander, Captain Eustachius De Lannoy, who instructed him in the Catholic faith. He is believed to have been killed by the Travancore state for upholding his Christian faith. Documents dating back to this time period show that conversion of court officials to Christianity was not tolerated. To learn more about Blessed Pillai, read about his life here.
Blessed César de Bus
Blessed Cesar de Bus was born in France in 1544 and became the founder of the Fathers of Christian Doctrine, a religious congregation dedicated to education, pastoral ministry, and catechesis. Cesar de Bus began his career in the army but after a serious illness he began to consider that the priorities of his life were out of order. Soon after looking at this, he began to seriously pray and discern God's will for his life. He became a priest and worked with the poor and underprivileged in rural areas. Always emphasizing catechism, he believed that learning about God belonged first in the home. The term "family catechesis" was coined at this time following his teaching. He died in 1607.
Blessed Luigi Maria Palazzolo
Blessed Luigi Maria Palazzolo was an Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Poor. The youngest of 8 boys, his father died when Luigi was about 10 years old. Ordained a priest in the diocese of Bergamo, Italy, in June 1850, he would devote his life to the care of neglected children. He founded several homes and orphanages to this end. Along with Venerable Maria Teresa Gabrieli, he founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Poor (Poverelle Sisters) for the care and education of neglected girls. He suffered from severe respiratory problems and had to sleep sitting up during the last year or so of his life. He was beatified by St. John XXIII in 1963.
Blessed Father Justin Russolillo
Blessed Father Justin Russolillo was an Italian priest who founded the Society of Divine Vocations for men and the Vocationist Sisters for women. He was born in 1891 and died in 1955. He was ordained a priest in 1913 and founded the Society of Divine Vocations for the purpose of developing and fostering vocations to the priesthood and religious life. This was accomplished primarily through "Vocationaries" - places of discernment and study for those who think they may have a religious calling. To read the complete biography - and learn about the extraordinary obstacles Fr. Russolillo overcame to establish his order - visit: https://www.vocationistfathers.org/blessedjustinbio
Blessed Anna Maria Rubatto
Born in Carmagnola, Italy, in 1844, Blessed Anna Maria Rubatto was the founder of the order now known as the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto. Both her parents died when she was young and Anna Maria came under the patronage of a religious woman with whom she stayed for 19 years. When the woman died in 1882, Anna Maria continued her pious devotions. Then, something remarkable happened in the life of the 38-year-old Anna Maria. According to an article on the saint: " One morning after Mass at the Capuchin church in Loano, Italy, Anna Maria was startled by a cry from a nearby convent that was under construction. A stone had fallen on the head of a young worker and, because of her experience helping with the sick, Anna Maria was able to clean the wound and tend to the young man. As it happened, the religious sisters who were to live in the building were looking for a spiritual guide and leader. They discerned that the incident with the young man was the sign they were looking for and a Capuchin priest convinced Anna Maria to enter their community. A year later she did and took the name Sister Maria Francesca of Jesus. The local bishop, Bishop Filippo Allegro, soon made her the superior of the order, which became known as the Institute of the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto" (The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington). The congregation grew, both in Italy and in the New World, and in 1892, they established a mission in Montevideo, Uruguay, as well as in Argentina and deep within the rainforests of Brazil. Mother Rubatto opened 18 Capuchin houses in 20 years and died of natural causes in Uruguay in 1904. She is buried in Montevideo where she had given so much of herself to the poor.
Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani
Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani was the co-founder and first superior general of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family. Born in 1862 in Castelletto di Brenzone, Italy, she dedicated her life to serving the poor and needy as well as assisting the sick and the elderly. She died in 1934. All her life she was devoted to the Holy Family and entrusted to them the care of all those around her. She had complete trust in Immaculate Mary to pray for all of her intentions. She was given the name "Mother Maria of the Immaculate," and to the sisters and townspeople she was simply known as "Mother." Many came to her for consultation and guidance. When Pope John Paul II beatified her in 2003, he said the following about her in his homily: "This praiseworthy daughter of the region of Verona, a disciple of Bl. Giuseppe Nascimbeni, was inspired by the Holy Family of Nazareth to make herself "all things to all people," ever attentive to the needs of the "poor people." She was extraordinarily faithful, in all circumstances and to her last breath, to the will of God, by whom she felt loved and called. What a fine example of holiness for every believer!"