Sunday, October 15, 2006
Canonization of Mother Guerin and three others!

It is with great jubilation that the Church celebrates the canonization of four blesseds, thereby declaring them saints. Such a declaration ensures that the four are in Heaven today interceding for mankind. For more information on basics of the Church's teaching on saints, see my posts What is a Catholic Saint and how does one become one?, Why pray to saints?, and Are saints even alive?

Today the universal Church rejoices as it declares that Mother Theodore Guerin, Rafael Guizar Valencia, Rosa Venerini, and Filippo Smaldone are in Heaven! Hallelujah!

(Photo Source: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Rafael Guizar Valencia (April 26, 1878 - June 6, 1938) was the Catholic bishop of Veracruz, who cared for the wounded and dying in Mexico's Revolution between 1910-1917.

On April 26, 1878, he was born to Prudenzio Guizar and Natividad Valencia, wealthy and pious landowners in Mexico. In 1901 he was ordained a priest, and he founded the Congregation of Missionaries of Our Lady of Hope in 1903. Rafael Valencia traveled throughout Mexico on missions. In 1911, the persecution of the Church began in Mexico.

Fr. Valencia's missions were stopped and his congregation was disbanded. He started a Catholic magazine in Mexico City, which was quickly shut down by the government of Mexico. In order to continue his ministry, he disguised himself as a traveling merchant to minister to the poor and preach to them. He was shot several times by soldiers and condemned to death.

Fr. Valencia escaped to the United States and later to Guatemala, where he sent a year preaching missions. From 1917 to 1919, Raphael Guizar Valencia preached in Cuba. On August 1, 1919, he was named bishop of Veracruz-Jalapa, Mexico. Fr. Valencia continued; his missionary work in Colombia at that time, but he finally returned to Veracruz, Mexico on January 4, 1920.

The government persecution of the Church in Mexico increased. The diocese's seminary was shut down, so Bishop Valencia transfered his students to Mexcio City so to learn properly. He was a saintly man and cared especially for his diocese's seminary.

In 1931 Governor Tejada of Veracruz decreed that there could only be one priest per 100,000 Catholics. Bishop Raphael responded by closing all churhces in his diocese in protest. Tejeda ordered that Raphael be shot on sight, so Raphael went straight to the governor's palace and walked into his office. Fearing the uprising if he killed Bishop Valencia, the death sentence was revoked. Raphael spent the rest of his life fighting to continue the work of the Church in the face of the government opposition. He died of natural causes on June 6, 1938.

In 1950, his body was exhumed and found to be incorruptible - it had not decayed at all according to witnesses. From henceforth, he shall be known as Saint Rafael Guizar Valencia!

(Photo Source: Vatican)

Filippo Smaldone (July 27, 1848 - June 4, 1923) was born in Naples, Italy. While still in the seminary, Filippo Smaldone worked extensively with deaf-mutes in Naples, Italy. In 1871, he was ordained. While working with plague victims, he contracted the disease too, but he was miraculously cured through the intervention of Mother Mary under the title of Our Lady of Pompei.

At one point, Fr. Smaldone was depressed over the frustration of his mute students, so he asked to give up his teaching and instead work in the foreign missions; his spiritual advisor convinced him to stay. In March 1885, with the aid of Father Lorenzo Apicelia and several nuns he had trained, a school for deaf-mutes was at last founded by Fr. Smaldone in Lecce, Italy. The school would become the foundation of the motherhouse of the Congregation of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Hearts.

Father Filippo soon expanded the work of his schools to include not only the mute but also the blind, orphaned, as well as abandoned children. He also founded the Eucharistic League of Priest Adorers and Eucharistic Leage of Women Adorers and was the Superior of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Saint Francis de Sales. On June 4, 1923, he died due to a combination of diabetes and a heart condition. From henceforth, he shall be known as Saint Filippo Smaldone!

(Photo Source: Vatican)

Rosa Venerini (February 9, 1656 - May 7, 1729) entered a convent after the death of her finace. When her father died, she returned home to care for her mother. At this time, Rosa Venerini started to invite neighborhood women to pray the rosary in her home. Her had little religious education, so she began to teach them. Rosa's spiritual director, Jesuit Father Ignatius Martinelli, convinced her that she was called to be a teacher instead of a contemplative nun.

With two of her friends, she opened a free pre-school for girls in 1685, and in 1692, Cardinal Barbarigo asked her to oversee training of teachers in his diocese of Montefiascone. Rosa organized schools in many parts of Italy, including Rome, and by the time of her death there were 40 schools under her direction. She frequently met opposition and some of the teachers were shot at with bows and their houses were burned. But, she was not swayed from her ministry. She was a friend and co-worker with Saint Lucia Filippini.

Today, the so-called Venerini Sisters work with Italian immigrants in the United States and elsewhere. Rosa Venerini died on May 7, 1728, in Rome. From henceforth, she shall be known as Saint Rosa Venerini!

Mother Theodore Guerin (October 2, 1798 - May 14, 1856) is an American saint. She joined Sisters of Providence at Ruillé-sur-Loir, France on 18 August 1823, and she was sent to the diocese of Vincennes, Indiana, USA on October 22, 1840. Along with five other sisters, she established the Academy of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on July 4, 1841, at Terre Haute, Indiana, which was the first Catholic women's liberal-arts college in the United States. She estalished several schools throughout the Midwest as well as an orphanage for girls and one for boys in Vincennes, Indiana.

On May 14, 1856, Mother Guerin died at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, of natural causes. She is buried at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, USA. Her canonization miracle involved the cure of a non-Catholic Sisters of Providence employee. From henceforth she shall be known as Saint Mother Guerin!

Let us thank God for these wonderful saints!!! May they intercede for all humanity! Rejoicing, we pray the Te Deum:

O God, we praise Thee, and acknowledge Thee to be the supreme Lord.
Everlasting Father, all the earth worships Thee.
All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers,
All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to Thee:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
The glorious choir of the Apostles,
The wonderful company of Prophets,
The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Holy Church throughout the world acknowledges Thee:
The Father of infinite Majesty;
Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When Thou tookest it upon Thyself to deliver man,
Thou didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Having overcome the sting of death, Thou opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all
Thou sitest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou willst come to be our Judge.
We, therefore, beg Thee to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy
Precious Blood.
Let them be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.

V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thy inheritance!
R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.

V. Every day we thank Thee.
R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yes, forever and ever.

V. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.

V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
R. O Lord, in Thee I have put my trust; let me never be put to shame.

1 comment(s):

del_button October 15, 2006 at 5:01 PM
Anonymous said...

I especially am inspired by the last saint.

The story is timely, today the homily was about acting as Christians, especially focused on women.

May God's blessings reach us through these wonderful new saints!

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