Holy Father recalls spiritual gifts of recently beatified mother superior

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI


Before Sunday's Angelus, the Pope spoke of two Marys, recalling the beatification of a Spanish religious sister and noting the "filial devotion" of Blessed John Henry Newman to the Mother of God.

The Holy Father prayed the Angelus on Sunday from Cofton Park, near Birmingham, England, after the celebration of Cardinal John Henry Newman's beatification Mass.

He first acknowledged that he was "pleased" with Saturday's beatification in Spain of the former mother superior of the Seville, Spain-based Sisters of the Company of the Cross, Madre María de la Purísima de la Cruz. Benedict XVI expressed hope that the new blessed might inspire "young women to follow her example of single-minded love of God and neighbor."

According to Spain's El Mundo newspaper, the beatification was attended by 45,000 people, with 30 bishops and 600 priests concelebrating. The head of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato, presided over the Mass and remembered Blessed Mary in his homily as an "athlete of holiness," that represents "a glorious page" in the order's history, "a page that should be read, admired and imitated."

Before the Angelus, the Pope went on to remember Blessed Newman's love of another Mary, Jesus' mother, saying that "in so many ways, he lived his priestly ministry in a spirit of filial devotion to the Mother of God."

Citing the blessed's words about Mary's role in bringing about God's salvific plan, he asked: "Who can estimate the holiness and perfection of her, who was chosen to be the Mother of Christ? What must have been her gifts, who was chosen to be the only near earthly relative of the Son of God, the only one whom He was bound by nature to revere and look up to; the one appointed to train and educate Him, to instruct Him day by day, as He grew in wisdom and in stature?"

Benedict XVI said, "It is on account of those abundant gifts of grace that we honor her, and it is on account of that intimacy with her divine Son that we naturally seek her intercession for our own needs and the needs of the whole world."