Sainthood cause advances of priest called ‘supernatural man’ by St. Maximilian Kolbe

Swiss Franciscan Conventual Friar Léon Veuthey (1896-1974) Swiss Franciscan Conventual Friar Léon Veuthey (1896-1974) | Order of Friars Minor Conventual

The sainthood cause of a Swiss priest whose “supernatural conceptions” made an impression on St. Maximilian Kolbe has advanced, along with those of six other Servants of God.

Franciscan Conventual Friar Léon Veuthey was a professor of ascetical and mystical theology in Rome when he first met St. Maximilian Kolbe in 1933 -- after which Kolbe described Veuthey in his private journal as “a supernatural man,” according to the Swiss priest’s biographer.

Veuthey was walking to the beatification ceremony of Gemma Galgani taking place in the Vatican gardens and Kolbe had business to attend to at the Vatican. However, Kolbe wrote that he let himself be so diverted by his conversation with Veuthey that he postponed his visit to the Vatican offices to accompany him to the beatification after which they had lunch together.

Kolbe wrote about this first meeting in his diary, calling him a “supernatural man,” and then making a further note of “Fr. Leon Veuthey’s supernatural conceptions of obedience."

Afterwards Kolbe asked the Swiss Franciscan priest to write a brief reflection on his impression of the beatification for a newsletter to be published by Kolbe’s publishing house. He also gifted Veuthey a small statue of the Virgin Mary, which is now kept at the St. Maximilian Kolbe Friar in Rome.

Veuthey was born in a small village in French-speaking Switzerland in 1896, but spent most of his life after his ordination to the priesthood in Italy, where he taught theology and philosophy in Rome until his death in 1974.

The plaque on Veuthey’s tomb in Rome’s Verano cemetery states: “writer, philosopher, theologian, mystic, spiritual master.”

Veuthey himself once wrote to one of his confreres in 1944, “The supernatural is unfathomable: you have to live it to enter in.”

Pope Francis authorized a decree from the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints on March 18 promulgating the heroic virtue of Fr. Léon Veuthey. The decree means that the priest can now be called “venerable.”

The pope also recognized the heroic virtue of a Sicilian archbishop, two Spanish priests, and three missionary religious sisters who died while serving victims of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1995.

The religious sisters, Sr. Annelvira Ossoli, Sr. Vitarosa Zorza, and Sr. Danielangela Sorti, were members of the Sisters of the Poor, Palazzolo Institute, and contracted and died of Ebola while serving the poor. Three of their fellow sisters who also died of Ebola were also recognized for their heroic virtue on Feb. 20.

Fr. Cosma Muñoz Pérez, the 17th-century founder of Congregation of the Daughters of the Patronage of Mary in Spain was declared venerable in the decree, as was a Spanish diocesan priest Fr. Salvador Valera Parra, who died in 1889 and was beloved for his meekness.

Pope Francis also recognized the heroic virtue of Archbishop Mercurio Maria Teresi of Monreale, a town near Palermo. King Ferdinand III attended his episcopal consecration in 1802.

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