102 Martyrs, 4 Blesseds and Canadian Founder Are Hailed

Pope Honors a Diverse Group That Includes Lay People

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2000 (ZENIT.org).-
As John Paul II today officially recognized 102 martyrs of Spain, he also recognized the holiness of the life of four soon-to-be-canonized people and gave approval for the beatification of a Canadian founder.

The Holy See today also recognized the heroic virtues of seven servants of God, who thus move a decisive step closer toward beatification.

When greeting the Holy Father, Archbishop José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, referred to the “historically and theologically certified martyrdom” of 102 priests, religious and laity, which the Archdiocese of Valencia was able to identify among more than 1,000 “witnesses of the faith” during the 1930s religious persecution in Spain.

“What is impressive about this group of martyrs,” the archbishop said, “is their extraordinary fortitude, their profound religious formation, their meekness, their capacity to forgive, and their joyful disposition to martyrdom, to the point of eliciting wonder in their persecutors, who gave proof of incredible ferocity without the least bit of humanity.”

Among the new models of sanctity proposed by the Church, Archbishop Saraiva Martins introduced Blessed Giuseppe Marello, bishop of Acqui, Italy, who at the time of the First Vatican Council “understood the duty to decisively oppose materialism, Masonry and anti-clericalism, which prevailed at the time.”

He instituted the Congregation of St. Joseph´s Oblates, entrusting them “with a special mandate of fidelity to the Pope, and commitment to an intense apostolate at the service of the whole Church,” the archbishop said.

The experts of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints have attested to three miracles attributed to the intercession of three beatified religious:

–Teresa Eustochio, of Italy (1801-1852), founder of the Institute of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus;

–Francesca Salesia, of France (1844-1914), founder of the Congregation of the Religious Oblates of St. Francis of Sales;

–Maria Crescenzia, of Germany (1682-1744), religious of the Third Regular Order of St. Francis.

Canadian Emilia Tavernier (1800-1851), founder of the Congregation of the Religious of Providence of Montreal, moved closer to possible beatification after another miracle was attributed to her intercession.

Lastly, the Church recognized the heroic virtues of seven religious, putting them a step closer to beatification. Five are women:

–Nicaraguan Maria Romero Meneses (1902-1977), religious of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians;

–Mexican Liberata of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (her baptismal name was Liberata Orozco Santa Cruz) (1834-1926), founder of the Congregation of Franciscan Religious of Our Lady of Refuge;

–Spaniard Maria Pilar Izquierdo Albero (1906-1945), founder of the Missionary Work of Jesus and Mary;

–Italian Maria Candida of the Eucharist (1884-1949), Discalced Carmelite;

–Polish Sanzia Szymkowiak (1910-1942), religious of the Congregation of the Sorrowful Blessed Virgin Mary.

The other two religious were:

–Slovenian Vendelino Vosnjak (1861-1933), priest of the Order of Friars Minor;

–Italian Giuseppe Ghezzi (1872-1955), of the Order of Friars Minor.

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