Pope Benedict XVI has advanced the sainthood causes of 16 Catholics. The announcement was made following the Pope’s meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, head of the Vatican’s office for the causes of saints, Dec. 10.
The Church’s newest saint will be Blessed Guido Maria Conforti, a missionary order founder and Italian bishop who died in 1931. The Pope has authorized a miracle attributed to Bl. Conforti’s intercession, the second needed to affirm his sainthood.
He founded the Pious Society of St. Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions, the Xaverian missionaries, who through his guidance brought about a renewal of the missionary spirit at the turn of the 20th century. The missionaries first spearheaded evangelization efforts to China. They are now present in a variety of countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
While his most recent miracle was not described, the first miracle attributed to Blessed Conforti came about in 1965. After prayers for his intercession from Xaverian sisters in Burundi, 12-year old Sabina Kamariza was cured of pancreatic cancer. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1996.
In addition to the miracle attributed to Bl. Conforti, the Pope has also authorized miracles attributed to an Italian priest, the Spanish foundress of a religious institute, the Portuguese foundress of an order of hospitalier sisters and a Brazilian sister who died in 1992. They will all be beatified for miracles attributed to their intercession.
Further papally-authorized decrees will recognize the martyrdom of German Father Alois Andritzki killed in the Nazi’s Dachau concentration camp in 1943 and six Spanish priests who all died for the faith during their country's civil war in 1936. No dates have been released yet for the ceremonies that will recognize them as blesseds.
"Heroic virtue" was decreed in the lives of a 20th-century Italian priest, a Lebanese religious brother of the Melkite Catholic tradition, an Italian sister and foundress of a religious congregation and a Spanish religious sister.
A series of steps marks the road to sainthood. First, the cause is begun on a local, diocesan level at which time information is collected on the person known to have led an exemplary or "heroic" Christian life.
Information is collected at the local bishop's request, resulting in a biography of the person, any writings they created, and testimonies from witnesses being sent to the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints. After further investigation by a panel, those who advance are either recognized for their "heroic virtue" and declared "venerable" or declared martyrs for the faith, thus bypassing the venerable stage to be beatified and declared "blessed."
"Venerables" to whose intercession a miracle is attributed advance by further papal decree to be beatified and declared “blessed.”
Once a person is declared “blessed,” the final step to canonization and recognition as a saint is the attribution of a second miracle for non-martyrs and a single miracle for those who suffered martyrdom.
The following is a complete list of the new saints, blesseds and venerables, as released by the Vatican.
• Blessed Guido Maria Conforti, Italian archbishop-bishop and founder of the Pious Society of St. Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions (1865-1931).
• Servant of God Francesco Paleari, Italian priest of the "Cottolengo" Institute (1863-1939).
• Servant of God Anna Maria Janer Anglarill, Spanish foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Holy Family of Urgell (1800-1885).
• Servant of God Marie Clare of the Child Jesus (nee Libania do Carmo Galvao Meixa de Moura Telles e Albuquerque), Portuguese foundress of the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (1843-1899).
• Servant of God Dulce (nee Maria Rita Lopes Pontes), Brazilian religious of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God (1914-1992).
Newly Declared Martyrs to be Beatified
• Servant of God Alois Andritzki, German diocesan priest who died in the concentration camp of Dachau (1914-1943).
• Servants of God Jose Nadal y Guiu (1911-1936) and Jose Jordan y Blecua (1906-1936), Spanish diocesan priests, killed in hatred of the faith during religious persecution in Spain.
• Servants of God Antonio (Miguel Faundez Lopez), Spanish professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor (1907-1936) and Bonaventura (ne Baltasar Mariano Munoz Martinez) Spanish cleric of the Order of Friars Minor (1912-1936), as well as Pedro Sanchez Barba (1895-1936) and Fulgencio Martinez Garcia (1911-1936), Spanish priests and pastors of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi, killed in hatred of the faith during religious persecution in Spain.
• Servant of God Antonio Palladino, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (1881-1926).
• Servant of God Bechara (Selim Abou-Mourad), Lebanese religious of the Basilian Salvatorian Order of the Melkites (1853-1930).
• Servant of God Maria Elisa Andreoli, Italian foundress of the Congregation of Reparatrix Sisters Servants of Mary (1861-1935).
• Servant of God Maria Pilar of the Sacred Heart (Maria Pilar Solsona Lamban), Spanish religious of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary, Religious of Pious Schools (1881-1966).