Sunday, October 14, 2018

7 New Saints Canonized - Brief Biography of the Lives of these Heroic People




Saint Pope Paul VI
Giovanni Battista Montini was born in 1897 in the northern Italian province of Brescia and was ordained to the priesthood in 1920. He was named Archbishop of Milan in 1954. After he was elected Pope in 1963, he reconvened the Second Vatican Council (following the death of St John XXIII) and presided over the final three of its four sessions. He oversaw the promulgation of all of the council's documents and led the process of implementing the council's reforms.
Paul VI was the first Pope in the modern area to travel abroad, visiting the Middle East and Asia, as well as Colombia, Australia, Uganda and New York where he addressed the United Nations in October 1965. “Naturally diffident and shy, all that he achieved had a considerable spiritual and personal cost,” according to Fr Symondson.
“During Pope Paul’s reign, more changes were introduced in the Catholic Church than in all previous centuries combined, not least due to the Second Vatican Council,” he says. ”His pontificate defined the papacy’s new role and, amid great socio-political upheaval on a worldwide scale, safeguarded the substance of the Catholic faith intact.”
Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on birth control, Humanae Vitae, is now widely accepted as a prophetic document. The 1968 document affirmed the Church's prohibition against artificial contraception, placing that conclusion in the context of Catholic teaching about the beauty and purpose of marriage, married love and procreation. These are topics that have been widely discussed at the Synod on the Family currently taking place in Rome.
Pope Paul VI died at the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo on 6 August 1978. The miracle attributed to his intercession which has led to his beatification involved the birth of a baby in California in the 1990s. According to news reports, a pregnant woman whose life was at risk along with the life of her baby was advised by doctors to terminate the pregnancy. Instead she sought prayers from a family friend - an Italian nun - who placed a holy card with Pope Paul's photograph and a piece of his vestment on the woman's belly. The baby was born healthy and doctors continued monitoring the child's health up to the age of 12 and concluded that everything about the child was normal. On 9 May 2014, Pope Francis signed the decree recognising this miracle and attributing it to Pope Paul VI’s intercession. (Source: Catholic Truth Society)
Saint Oscar Romero
Oscar Romero was born into a large family on August 15, 1917 in El Salvador. Although they had more money than many of their neighbours, Oscar’s family had neither electricity nor running water in their small home, and the children slept on the floor. Oscar’s parents could not afford to send him to school after the age of twelve, so he went to work as an apprentice carpenter. He quickly showed great skills, but Oscar was already determined to become a priest. He entered the seminary at the age of fourteen and was ordained a priest when he was 25 in 1942. Recognising the power of radio to reach the people, he convinced five radio stations to broadcast his Sunday sermons to peasant farmers who believed they were unwelcome in the churches. In 1970, he became Auxiliary Bishop in San Salvador. In 1974 he became Bishop of Santiago de Maria. At this time, Oscar Romero was described as a conservative, not wanting to break from tradition. He supported the hierarchy who encouraged conformity. He was uncomfortable with social action that challenged political leaders.
 Growing awareness 
During his two years as Bishop of Santiago de Maria, Romero was horrified to find that children were dying because their parents could not pay for simple medicines. He began using the resources of the diocese and his own personal resources to help the poor, but he knew that simple charity was not enough. He wrote in his diary that people who are poor should not just receive handouts from the Church or the government but participate in changing their lives for the future. In 1977, Romero became Archbishop of San Salvador, the capital city. 
The situation in El Salvador was becoming worse and he couldn’t remain silent any longer. The military were killing the Salvadorian people - especially those demanding justice such as teachers, nuns and priests – including Romero’s good friend, Fr Rutilio Grande. Thousands of people began to go missing. Romero demanded that the President of El Salvador thoroughly investigate the killings, but he failed to do so. 
Voice of the voiceless 
In his actions and words, Oscar demanded a peace that could only be found by ensuring people had access to basic needs and their rights upheld. He raised awareness globally about the people in his country who had been killed or "disappeared". When he visited the Vatican in 1979, Oscar Romero presented the Pope with seven detailed reports of murder, torture, and kidnapping throughout El Salvador. In 1979, the number of people being killed rose to more than 3000 per month. Oscar Romero had nothing left to offer his people except faith and hope. He continued to use the radio broadcast of his Sunday sermons to tell people what was happening throughout the country, to talk about the role of the Church and to offer his listeners hope that they would not suffer and die in vain. 
Martyrdom 
On March 23, 1980, after reporting the previous week’s deaths and disappearances, Oscar Romero began to speak directly to soldiers and policemen: “I beg you, I implore you, I order you... in the name of God, stop the repression!” The following evening, while saying Mass in the chapel of Divine Providence Hospital, Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot by a paid assassin. Only moments before his death, Romero spoke these prophetic words: “Those who surrender to the service of the poor through love of Christ will live like the grain of wheat that dies… The harvest comes because of the grain that dies.” Like many great leaders who have fought for truth, Oscar Romero was killed and became a martyr, but his voice could not be silenced. He is a symbol of hope in a country that has suffered poverty, injustice and violence. (Source: Caritas.org)
Saint Francesco Spinelli
St. Francesco Spinelli was born in Milan on April 14, 1853. After completing his priestly formation, he was ordained a priest in 1875. He started a community of young women in Rome who consecrated their lives to Eucharistic adoration. After meeting St. Catherine Comensoli, he founded the Institute of the Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament. Blessed Francesco Spinelli fulfilled the role of both Founder and Superior. He died peacefully on February 6, 1913. Pope St John Paul II declared him Blessed in 1992. (Source: Vatican News)

Saint Vincenzo Romano

St. Vincenzo Romano was born in Torre del Greco, near Naples, on June 3, 1751. In 1775 he was ordained a priest. His ministry was characterized by his special attention to those most in need, and his commitment to educating children and young people. On June 15, 1794, the town of Torre del Greco was almost completely destroyed by a violent eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Blessed Vincenzo Romano spearheaded both the material and spiritual rebirth of the community. He died on December 20, 1831. Blessed Pope  Paul VI declared him Blessed in 1963. (Source: Vatican News)

Saint Maria Catherine Kasper

Blessed Maria Catherine Kasper was born on 26 May 1820 in Dernbach, Germany. A strong and extrovert child, she spent her adolescence working in the fields and even breaking stones for the construction of roads. In this context she chose to found an Institute of Sisters at the service of the humblest social classes. In 1848 she opened the House of the "Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ", where the poor of the country were welcomed. The Congregation spread rapidly, even outside Germany and Europe, reaching the Americas and, later, India. She died of a heart attack on February 2, 1898. Blessed Paul VI proclaimed her Blessed in 1978.(Source: Vatican News)

Saint Nazaria Ignazia of Saint Teresa of Jesus

Blessed Nazaria Ignazia of Saint Teresa of Jesus March Mesa was born in Madrid on January 10, 1889. Her family moved to Mexico where she met the Sisters of the Abandoned Elders and entered the Institute in 1908. After making her first vows in 1911, she was sent to Bolivia. As she became aware of the increasingly problematic social situation there, Nazaria founded the Congregation of the Missionary Crusaders of the Church to serve the poor and assist women. Her life was in grave danger both in Bolivia and in Spain during the civil war from 1936 to 1939. In 1942 she travelled from Spain to Buenos Aires, but her health deteriorated. She died on July 6, 1943. She was beatified in 1992, by Pope St John Paul II.(Source: Vatican News)

Saint Nuncio Sulprizio

St. Nuncio Sulprizio was born on April 13, 1817 in Pescosansonesco, in the province of Pescara, Italy. Orphaned of both parents at the age of six, he was cared for by his maternal grandmother, who taught him to seek Jesus present in the Eucharist and to invoke the Blessed Virgin. When his grandmother died Nuncio was entrusted to an uncle, with whom he worked as a blacksmith. Hard work and ill-treatment caused him to contract bone tuberculosis. He moved to Naples and was admitted to the Hospital for Incurable Diseases. There he was able to receive his long-desired First Communion. The disease degenerated quickly and he died on May 5, 1836. Nuncio was just nineteen years old. It was Pope Leo XIII who decreed his heroic virtues in 1890, and proposed him as a model for young people. On December 1, 1963, Blessed Pope Paul VI proclaimed him Blessed. (Source: Vatican News)

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