VATICAN CITY, MAR. 13, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II in June will proclaim Rebecca Pierrette Ar-Rayes the first saint of Lebanon.
The Pope himself made the announcement this morning, during an ordinary consistory that voted for the canonization of nine future saints.
The other blessed to be canonized this year are a bishop, two priests, a male religious and four women religious. The candidates come from France (1), Bavaria (1), Catalonia (1) and Italy (5). The new saints to be canonized June 10 or Nov. 25 are:
1. Rebecca Pierrette Ar-Rayes (1932-1914). Virgin and nun of the Lebanese Order of St. Antony of the Maronites. She is known as the “flower of Himlaya,” the little Lebanese mountain village where she was born and baptized with the name Boutrossieh (Pierrette or Petronila in French) on June 29, 1832.
Her mother´s death and father´s second marriage marked her childhood. At 14, despite the fact her father wanted her to marry, she declared she was attracted to the religious life. After working for a Lebanese family in Damascus, she entered the institute founded by Father Joseph Gemayel for the education of girls.
The institute was unable to survive the conflicts of the decade of the 1860s. So, in 1871, Rebecca entered the Order of St. Antony of the Maronites, inspired in ancient Egyptian monasticism, where she took the name Rafqa (Rebecca in French).
In 1885, Sister Rebecca offered her health to the Lord; afterward she lost her eyesight. For 30 years she suffered excruciating pain in her face. Then, in 1907, she suffered a painful paralysis. Her inert body was covered with sores. She offered her suffering in union with Jesus. Her feast is celebrated March 23, anniversary of her death.
2. Giuseppe Marello (1844-1895)
Italian bishop, founder of the Oblates of St. Joseph. A native of Turin, Bishop Marello was described as a “precious stone” by Leo XIII. During his theological studies, he was miraculously cured of typhus, which he always attributed to the Blessed Virgin. After being ordained a priest, he spent 13 years as secretary of Bishop Carlo Savio of Asti, whom he accompanied during the First Vatican Council (1869-1870). Later he founded the Oblates of St. Joseph, a community of priests and religious brothers to assist bishops and clergy in evangelization.
Father Marello himself was named bishop of Asti in 1889. In his ministry, he was especially dedicated to youth and abandoned people. He visited the parishes of his diocese and wrote six pastoral letters to his faithful. He died in Savona from a cerebral hemorrhage May 30, 1895.
3. Luigi Scrosoppi (1804-1884)
Italian priest, religious of the St. Philip Neri Oratory, and founder of the Sisters of Providence of St. Cajetan of Thiene. “The poor and the sick are our owners and they represent the very person of Jesus Christ,” this priest said, a native of Udine in northern Italy.
He spent his large legacy and all his energy on works of charity. The “House of the Abandoned,” for the education of poor girls; the “Providence House,” for his former pupils without work; and his work for the deaf and dumb. In order to attend to all these institutions, he founded the Sisters of Providence, which he placed under the protection of St. Cajetan. His feast day is April 3.
4. Agostino Roscelli (1818-1902)
Italian priest, founder of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Born in Bargone de Casarza, in Liguria, he died in Genoa. He was ordained a priest in 1846, and, as a parish priest, he was especially concerned with youth, and girls, who in those days had less access to education. He founded a school so that they could receive intellectual and professional training. He instituted a religious community of women teachers to run the school. His feast is May 7.
5. Bernardo da Corleone (1605-1667)
Filippo Latini, a shoemaker in Sicily, was an expert in handling a knife. One day, he mortally wounded an adversary and fled, to escape from the police. He sought refuge in the Church of the Palermo Capuchins. In 1632, after being converted, he entered that monastery as a friar, and lived a life of penance. He was beatified in 1768. His feast day is Jan. 12.
6. Teresa Eustochio (1801-1852)
Italian virgin and founder of the Institute of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Member of a noble family of Bergamo, in Lombardy, she was formed in the religious life in the Benedictine community of her native city. She dedicated herself to the education of young girls. She founded a religious congregation for them, the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, concerned with education. She died in Brescia. Her feast day is March 3.
7. Paula of St. Joseph Calasanz (1799-1889)
This virgin from Catalonia was the founder of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary of the Pious Schools.
Paula Montal Fornes was born in Barcelona. She discovered her religious vocation at 30, when she established a school for girls with her friend Ines Busquets, in Gerona. This initiative eventually resulted in an important congregation dedicated to education. Her feast is Feb. 26.
8. Françoise de Sales (1844-1914)
Religious, founder of the Oblates of St. Francis of Sales, she was born in Sézanne, France. The textile factories at the time contracted very young girls who came from the rural areas. Because of this, in 1858 Father Louis Brisson began the St. Francis de Sales Work, to offer them a Christian and human education. In Leonie (this was the future saint´s baptismal name) he found the collaborator he needed.
He founded the Sisters Oblates of St. Francis of Sales in 1866. Pius X approved its constitutions in 1911. Leonie, who took the name Françoise de Sales when she entered the convent, became the first superior general. In addition to initiatives for labor, she founded schools for general basic education in parishes, and a residence for young girls in Paris. Later, her evangelizing work extended to Europe, South Africa and Ecuador, with the motto: “Let us work so that others will be happy.” Her feast is Jan. 10.
9. Maria Crescentia Höss (1682-1744)
Third Order of St. Francis virgin and nun. Anna Höss was born in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria, and never left the city of her birth. She entered religious life and lived for 40 years an intense mystical life. Her feast is April 5.
Today, John Paul II also announced the dates of the future canonizations. Luigi Scrosoppi, Agostino Roscelli, Bernardo da Corleone, Teresa Eustochio Verzeri and Rebecca Pierrette Ar-Rayes will be canonized June 10.
On Nov. 25, the Holy Father will canonize Giuseppe Marello, Paula of St. Joseph of Calasanz, Françoise de Sales, and Maria Crescentia Höss.