Pope Recognizes Heroic Virtues of American Priest, Lay Japanese Woman

Also Declares Martyrdom of Religious and Layperson from Spain & South Africa

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The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognized the miracles, heroic virtues and martyrdom of several religious men, including the American founder of the Sisters of Mary and Brothers of Christ, Aloysius Schwartz.

The decree, signed yesterday afternoon by Pope Francis, also recognized the heroic virtues of Elizabeth Maria Satoko Kitahara, the first Japanese person declared as Servant of God.

The Holy Father also recognized a miracle attributed to Venerable Maria Teresa Casini, the foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart, paving the way for her beatification.

The decree recognized the martyrdom of 21 religious men and women who were martyred in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Over 6,000 members of the Catholic clergy, and thousands of Catholic lay people, were murdered by leftist groups in Spain between 1936-1939.

The martyrdom of South African, Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa was also recognized. The primary school headmaster was killed by a mob for refusing to partake in witchcraft.

The Pope’s meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints,  resulted in the following authorizations:


– attributed to the Venerable Servant of God Maria Teresa Casini, Italian foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1864-1937);


– Servants of God Fidela (nee Dolores Oller Angelats) and two companions, Spanish professed nuns of the Institute of Sisters of St. Joseph, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 26 and 29 August 1936;

– Servants of God Pio Heredia Zubia and seventeen companions, of the Trappists of Cantabria and the Cistercian nuns of the Congregation of St. Bernard, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936;

– Servant of God Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa (ne Bakali), South African layperson, killed in hatred of the faith in South Africa on 2 February 1990.


– Servant of God Ladislao Bukowinski, Ukrainian diocesan priest (1904-1974);

– Servant of God Aloysius Schwartz, American diocesan priest, founder of the Sisters of Mary of Banneux and the Brothers of Christ (1930-1992);

– Servant of God Cointa Jauregui Oses, Spanish professed nun of the Company of Mary Our Lady (1875-1954);

– Servant of God Teresa Gardi, Italian layperson of the Third Order of St. Francis (1769-1837);

– Servant of God Luis De Trelles y Nuogerol, Spanish layperson and founder of the Nocturnal Adoration Society in Spain (1819-1891);

– Servant of God Elizabeth Maria (nee Erizabe-to Maria) Satoko Kitahara, Japanese layperson (1929-1958);

– Servant of God Virginia Blanco Tardio, Bolivian layperson (1916-1990).

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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