.- Benedict XVI has approved the cause for the canonization of a Spanish religious sister and cleared the way for the beatification of eight other individuals. Among others advancing on the road to declared sainthood is Servant of God Henrietta Delille of New Orleans, who was declared to have lived a life of "heroic virtue."
Sixteen new decrees regarding cases of possible saints were approved in the Vatican in a meeting between the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato, and Pope Benedict on Saturday morning.
A miracle was approved for the cause Spanish sister Boniface Rodriguez Castro, foundress of the Congregration of the Missionary Servants of St. Joseph. According to Vatican Radio, she showed exemplary humility in her life, continuing to live with dignity and faith even after being sent away from the order she founded in support of working women, bearing the contempt of her fellow sisters and living a life of silence.
She was exonerated and recognized for her holiness only after her death in 1905.
Among the eight candidates now authorized for beatification are three 20th century martyrs: German diocesan priest, Fr. Gerhard Hirschfelder, who died in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau in 1942; Slovenian Luigi Grozde, lay member of the Catholic Action group who was killed "out of hate for the Faith" in 1943; and Bishop Szilard Bogdanffy of Romania who died in jail in 1953.
The single American to be recognized in this most recent round of decrees is Mother Henrietta Delille, foundress of the Louisiana-based Congregation of Sisters of the Holy Family. A free woman of African descent, Venerable Henrietta Delille started the African American congregation in 1842 with the goal of educating the children of slaves and caring for the sick, poor and elderly.
The order carries on the original mission of the foundress today, providing education to youth in more than 20 institutions in the United States and offering care and shelter for the elderly.
According to the order's website, the Sisters of the Holy Family also have a presence internationally in Nigeria and Belize.
Dates for the canonization and beatifications have not been released but will be announced by the Vatican as they are scheduled.