During a Monday meeting with the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis approved the “heroic virtue” of eight Servants of God, which now allows their public veneration.
Among those whose causes the Pope moved forward during his Jan. 27 meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato SDB, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, are one martyr and seven priests and religious hailing from various countries all over the world.
Originally from Spain, martyr Fr. Peter Asúa Mendía was born in Valmaseda, a small town in the province of Vizcaya, Spain on Aug. 30, 1890.
After he was ordained, Fr. Mendía served as the pastor of a parish in the diocese of Vitoria, and was killed in Liendo, a province of Santander, Spain, in hatred of the faith on Aug. 29, 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.
Of the seven priests and religious whose causes were promulgated yesterday by Pope Francis, one Religious Sister hails from his native Argentina.
Born in La Carlota Rio Cuarto, a province of Córdova , Argentina, on April 3, 1822, Servant of God Maria Benedetta Arias was responsible for founding the Sisters Servants of Jesus in the Sacrament. She died in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Sept. 25, 1894.
The causes of two Italians, Servants of God Giuseppe Girelli and Elizabeth Sanna, are also among those whose heroic virtues have been approved.
Fr. Giuseppe Girelli was a diocesan priest who was born in Dossobuono, in Verona , Italy on Jan. 10, 1886, and died in Negrar, also in Verona, on May 1, 1978.
Elizabeth Sanna, was born at Codrongianos in Sarrari, Italy on April 23, 1788, and at three months old lost the use of her arms. Despite her handicap, she was married in 1807, had seven children, and was then widowed in 1825.
After the death of her husband, Sanna embarked on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and ended up in Rome, where she remained due to ill health. While there, she met St. Vincent Pallotti, who became her spiritual director, and later entered into the Union of the Catholic Apostolate.
She was known throughout her life for ardent faith and charity, and by the time she died on Feb. 17, 1857, she was also well reputed for her sanctity, and was buried in the same church as her spiritual guide.
Also from Spain, the cause of Servant of God Zechariah Santa Teresa, born in Abadiano in Vizcaya, Spain on Nov. 5, 1887, is among those being advanced.
Fr. Zechariah was professed with the Order of Discalced Carmelites in 1904 and was ordained a priest seven years later. After his ordination, the young Carmelite volunteered to serve as a missionary in India, where he worked as a theologian, philosopher, preacher and historian until his death on May 23, 1957.
Foundress Marcella Mallet, Servant of God, was born in Côte des -Neiges in Montreal , Canada on March 26, 1805, and is responsible for founding the order of the Sisters of Charity of Quebec. She died there on April 9, 1871.
Also moved forward was the cause of Servant of God Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a Founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus, who was born in Kercem, in the Island of Gozo, Malta on Nov. 28, 1862.
The foundress made a vow of virginity at the age of 15, and was accepted into the Association of the Twelve Starts of the Heart of Jesus in 1887. After repeated pleas, she was accepted as a member of the newly-formed Congregation of the Franciscan Tertiaries in 1881.
Mother Margaret became superior of one of the congregations new houses in 1885, where she then taught, and was later inspired to run the order. She died in Victoria, in the Island of Gozo, Malta on Jan. 22, 1952, and was well known for profound faith and humility, devotion to prayer, mortification, and her willingness to serve.
Last among those causes approved by Pope Francis is Servant of God Serafina, who was born in Urucurituba, Brazil on Jan. 31, 1913, and was professed as a Religious sister in the Congregation of the Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ. She died in Manaus, Brazil, on Oct. 21, 1988.
After the pontiff’s meeting with Cardinal Amato, these eight individuals have now received the title “Servants of God,” which is the first stage in the sainthood process, and have received the Pope’s consent to be declared as “Venerable,” and may be now publically reverenced.