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Apostle of Deaf-Mutes Canonized

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 15, 2006 ( Benedict XVI canonized Italian Father Filippo Smaldone, known as the apostle of those who can’t hear or speak.

St. Filippo Smaldone (1848-1923) was a “priest of great heart,” said the Holy Father during today’s canonization Mass, which could be followed in sign language on large screens in St. Peter’s Square.

“[N]ourished by constant prayer and Eucharistic adoration, he was above all a witness and servant of charity, manifested eminently in service to the poor, in particular deaf-mutes, to whom he was completely dedicated,” said the Pope.

The saint founded the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Hearts, which has convents in Italy, Brazil, Moldavia, Paraguay and Rwanda.

“St. Filippo Smaldone saw the image of God reflected in deaf-mutes, and he used to repeat that, just as we prostrate ourselves before the Blessed Sacrament, so we should kneel before a deaf-mute.”

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