John Paul II to Beatify Royal Chaplain of Spain

Calumniated “Prophet of Mercy” Expelled From Institute He Founded

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 7, 2003 ( On Sunday, John Paul II will beatify Father Juan Nepomuceno Zegri y Moreno, a Spanish priest of the Archdiocese of Granada.

Father Zegri y Moreno was born in Granada, Spain, October 11, 1831. He was ordained a priest in 1855, attended to the formation of future priests, preached before Queen Isabela II of Spain, and even served as the royal chaplain.

Moved by existing social problems and the needs of the least fortunate, Father Zegri y Moreno founded a religious congregation, «to liberate human beings from their enslavements,» under the protection of ‘merciful Mary.’ The foundation took place in Malaga, March 16, 1878.

Within just a few years the congregation spread to numerous Spanish dioceses.

The purpose of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Mary Virgin of Mercy (known as «Mercedarias») is to practice spiritual and corporal works of mercy toward the poor.

«To cure all wounds, remedy all evils, calm all afflictions, uproot all needs, dry all tears, if possible, not leave out in the world one single abandoned, afflicted, and unsheltered human being without religious education or means,» was the priest’s objective and his foundation’s charism.

Father Zegri y Moreno was a victim of calumny resulting in his expulsion from the congregation he founded, first by Church authorities, then by his own religious sisters.

He died alone, obedient to the end, in Malaga, Spain, March 17, 1905.

At present, the Congregation numbers 1,400 members in 170 communities spread over 14 countries.

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