Vatican City, Oct 12, 2008 / 06:44 am
This morning, pilgrims from around the world gathered in St. Peter’s Square as the Holy Father canonized four saints. In his homily, the Pontiff recalled the lives and virtues of Gaetano Errico (1791-1860), Sr. Maria Bernarda (Verena) Butler (1848-1924), Sr. Alfonsa of the Immaculate Conception (1910-1946), and Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran (1832- 1869).
Addressing the crowd in his homily, the Pontiff spoke of the lives of the newly canonized saints. He began with St. Gaetano Errico, an Italian teacher whose life was changed when St. Alphonsus Liguori appeared to him asking him to found the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary.
The Holy Father spoke of St. Gaetano's dedication to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. "How many wounded souls did he heal by this sacrament! How many people did he bring to reconcile themselves with God through the Sacrament of forgiveness! Thus, St. Gaetano Errico became an expert in the 'science' of forgiveness, and taught it to his missionaries, urging them: 'God, who does not want the death of the sinner, he is always more merciful than his ministers; for this reason, be as merciful as you can be, because you will find mercy with God'."
Pope Benedict then recounted the life of the first modern Swiss woman to be canonized, St. Maria Bernarda Butler.