Beatification Date Reported for Foucauld

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 18, 2005 ( John Paul II will soon beatify French explorer Charles de Foucauld, a witness of the Gospel among the Tuareg of the Sahara, reported the news agency Veritas.

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Bishop Joan Enric Vives of Urgell, in Spain, said today that Foucauld (1858-1916) would be canonized May 15.

The prelate said that Father Josep Tàpies and six other priests of the Diocese of Urgell, shot during the religious persecution of 1930s Spain, will also be beatified with Foucauld.

Additionally, three women religious will be beatified: Maria Pia Mastena, founder of the Sisters of the Holy Face; Ascensión del Corazón de Jesús, co-founder of the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Rosary; Maria Ana Barbara Cope, of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis.

The Vatican officially attributed a miracle to the intercession of Foucauld in January, clearing the way for his beatification.

Foucauld enjoyed success as an explorer until his conversion in 1886. He lived as a hermit, became a priest, and is known for his commitment to the evangelization of the Tuareg.

He was shot dead Dec. 1, 1916, in the midst of a skirmish among Berbers of Hoggar. He was 58.

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