Benedict XVI Offers 5 New Saints as Role Models

Says They Offer Inspiration in Times of Crisis

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 26, 2009 ( Benedict XVI offered the five religious he proclaimed saints as role models for a “disoriented society,” and said that in them one can find inspiration to overcome the obstacles and crises of life.

The Pope said this today at the canonization ceremony in St. Peter’s Square, in which he declared four Italians and one Portuguese saints of the Church. All of the five saints proclaimed at the Mass are religious, and all but one is a founder of a religious congregation.

In the address given in Italian and Portuguese, the Pope spoke of the lives of each one, beginning with Arcangelo Tadini (1846-1912), a priest from Brescia, Italy.

He noted the priest’s work to help those suffering during the economic crisis of his time: “Archangelo Tadini spent long hours in prayer before the Eucharist, who always took into account in his ministry the totality of the human person, helping his parishioners grow humanly and spiritually.

“This holy priest, man of God, willing in all situations to be led by the Holy Spirit, was also available to take on the urgent necessities of the moment and find a solution.”

The Italian priest founded the organization of the Society of Catholic Workers of Mutual Aid, built a spinning factory and a shelter for women laborers, and founded in 1900 the Congregation of the Worker Sisters of the Holy House of Nazareth.

“He did these works,” said the Pontiff, “with the objective to evangelize the world of work, sharing the example of the Sacred Family of Nazareth.”

He continued: “How prophetic was the charismatic intuition of Don Tadini, and how much his example remains today, in a time of grave economic crisis.”

Until death

Regarding Bernardo Tolomei (1272-1348), who was an abbot and founder of the Congregation of the Blessed Virgin of Monte Oliveto, Benedict XVI called him an “authentic martyr of charity.” The saint died while taking care of the monks who had fallen ill to the great plague of 1348.

“The example of this saint is for us an invitation to translate our faith into a life dedicated to God in prayer and in total surrender to service to one’s neighbor, with the instinct of charity ready to take on even the supreme sacrifice,” the Holy Father said.

The Pontiff reflected on the life of Nuno de Santa Maria Álvares Pereira (1360-1431), an officer in the Portuguese army and a national hero in Portugal for his success in various battles.

After the death of his wife, the saint gave away all his possessions and entered the convent of the Order of Friars of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel.

As a religious, he dedicated himself totally to the assistance of the poor, including the task of distributing food.

The Pope presented to the whole Church “this exemplary figure, marked by a life of faith and prayer in contexts apparently little favorable to the same, proof that in any situation — including of a military character — it is possible to act according to the principles and values of Christian life.”

Lived charity

Benedict XVI explained that Gertrude Comensoli (1847-1903) founded the Institute of Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament “so as to translate the charity ‘contemplated’ in the Eucharistic Christ into ‘lived’ charity, dedicating herself to her neighbor.”

“In a society disoriented and many times hurt, such as our own, Saint Gertrude indicated as a firm point of refernce the God of the Eucharist who made himself our travel companion,” the Pope said.

The Holy Father then presented Caterina Volpicelli (1839-1894), Italian founder of the Institute of Handmaidens of the Sacred Heart, as one “who made an effort ‘to be of Christ, so as to bring Christ’ to those she encountered in Naples at the end of the 19th century, during a time of spiritual and social crisis.”

The Pope noted that she taught that to be authentic educators of the faith, and to transmit “to the new generations the values of Christian culture, it’s indispensible, as she liked to repeat, to liberate God from the prisons in which man had confined him to.”

According to the Pontiff, Saint Catherine shows the Church of today “the demanding road of a conversion that changes the root of the heart, and translates into coherent actions of the Gospel.”

“It is possible in this way to lay the foundations to build a society open to justice and solidarity, overcoming economic and cultural inequality that still remains in great part on our planet.”

Upon concluding the celebration, and before praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope wished to each one of the pilgrims in Rome for the canonization: “I hope that this pilgrimage, lived in the mark of sanctity and supported by the grace of the Pauline year, can help each one [of you] to ‘run’ with more joy and energy toward the final ‘goal,’ toward ‘the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.'”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation