Pope Francis Brings 9 People Closer to Sainthood - Brief Biographies of their Inspirational Lives!

Pope Francis has brough 9 people closer to becoming canonized Saints. On May 20th he authorized the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the Decree that recognizes the heroic virtues of 8 Servants of God. The Decree also recognizes the martyrdom of the Italian priest Fr. Giuseppe Beotti during the Nazi occupation.

During the audience this Saturday, May 20, granted to Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis authorized the promulgation of the Decree that recognizes the martyrdom of the Italian priest. Also recognized were the heroic virtues of 8 Servants of God who thus became Venerable: two priests (Cameroonian Simon Mpeke and Spaniard Pedro de la Virgen del Carmen), two religious (Brazilian Tereza Margarida do Coração de Maria and the Italian Edda Roda) and four lay people (the young Brazilian seminarian Guido Vidal França Schäffer, the Italian catechist Arnaldo Canepa and two Italian women, Maria Cristina Ogier and Lorena D'Alessandro, who died at a young age due to a tumor).

Surfer and Seminarian, Dr. Guido Vidal França Schäffer
The care for AIDS patients, the help, the medical service and the work of evangelization offered to the poor and marginalized in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro characterized the youth of Guido Vidal França Schäffer, a young doctor born in 1974 who, in In the 1990s, together with his fiancée and a priest, he started the Fogo do Espírito Santo prayer group in the parish. Later, after participating, in 1997, in the meeting of families on the occasion of the visit of Saint John Paul II to Rio de Janeiro and, in 2000, in a trip to Europe for the beatification of the Brazilian proto-martyrs, he decided to enter the Seminary .

At the same time that he was studying, Guido was enthusiastically dedicated to evangelization and medical practice. Those who knew him remember his deep friendship with Jesus, his familiarity with biblical texts and the enthusiasm with which he spoke of the Lord. For the love of God, he practiced fasting and penance with simplicity and discretion. Even when he taught surfing, his favorite sport, he began the training with prayer. In 2009, when he was at sea, at Recreio dos Bandeirantes beach, in Rio de Janeiro, he was hit in the head by his surfboard and drowned.

Father Giuseppe Beotti
Giuseppe Beotti was born in 1912 into a farming family and became a diocesan priest on April 2, 1938. He immediately stood out for his assiduous work of charity in favor of the needy and for his commitment to educating young people. He offered his help to everyone: resisters, Jews, soldiers and the wounded. During the German occupation, he defended the rights of his parishioners, and for this he was subjected to criminal proceedings that came to nothing.

He sheltered and helped fleeing soldiers, prisoners who had escaped from wars, persecuted people, including about a hundred Jews who he hid in hovels with the help of his parishioners. Faced with the danger of arrests and Nazi reprisals, he did not flee, but remained a point of reference in his church in Sidolo, in the province of Parma, assiduous in prayers. He was arrested and shot on July 20, 1944 in Sidolo, along with a priest and a seminarian who had taken refuge in the church with him. His murder was motivated by the Nazis' hatred of violators of their criminal anti-Semitic law.

Father Simon Mpeke of Cameroon
Among the founders of the Union of Priests Jesus Caritas of Saint Charles de Foucauld in Cameroon is the Servant of God Simon Mpeke, born at the beginning of the last century into a family of pagan peasants from the Bakoko ethnic group. Fascinated by Christianity as a young man, he converted, left his fiancée and entered the seminary to become a priest in 1935. He was distinguished by the depth of his spiritual life and pastoral dedication. Knowledgeable in several languages, he was the first Cameroonian fidei donum missionary in the north of the country, inhabited by people of Sudanese origin, which was under the influence of Muslims and whose mountain people were linked to traditional religions.

He was called "Baba (father) Simon" by the local people: traveling through the mountains, he preached the Gospel to the indigenous Kirdi people. Fascinated by his example, a fervent Christian community was born thanks to him. Close to the poor and sick, he evangelized through works such as preaching and building schools. In Christ, Father Simon Mpeke saw the realization of hopes also present in other religious denominations: with this conviction, he promoted the slow passage of non-Christians to the knowledge of Jesus. He was also committed to human promotion, overcoming many prejudices, such as the one that considered illness a divine punishment. 
 Father Pedro de la Virgen del Carmen
 Formed by the Schools, first at the school of Blessed Manuel Segura, martyr of religious persecution in Spain, and then at that of Blessed Faustino Oteiza, Pedro de la Virgen del Carmen, priest of the Order of Poor Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools, lived in the Iberian country between 1913 and 1983. Sent to the front as a military chaplain, he remained there until the end of the war. Back in Zaragoza, he lived in deep union with the Lord, contemplated in the Eucharist, developing intense activity at school, visiting the sick, hearing confessions and in the Conference of St. Vincent de Paul. A point of reference for his students, a devotee of the Virgin Mary, he was an authentic witness of the Gospel. His commitment to teaching was awarded a civil tribute from the state. He suffered severely from a stomach ulcer since his youth, which led to his death in the 1980s. 
 Sister Edda Roda 
A testimony of perseverance in faith despite suffering is offered by the Servant of God Edda Roda, a religious from the Institute of the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto, who lived in Bergamo, Italy, between 1940 and 1996. She suffered from "asthenic syndrome ", which caused him physical breakdowns and a drop in his mood, but he never tired of bringing a smile to the families he visited, organizing prayer meetings or accompanying with dedication people in painful situations. 
During one of the Popular Missions that she carried out between 1980 and 1995 in Italy, Sister Edda was beaten and raped by three men. Sister Edda carried this dramatic event in secret, which did not stop her from continuing her missionary activity. In the last year of her life, she was diagnosed with advanced uterine cancer. She bore her sufferings without ever complaining, but transfiguring them into an offering of love. As her diaries testify, the illness became a path of purification for her. 

Sister Tereza Margarida 
A point of reference in faith From Brazil comes the testimony of Servant of God Tereza Margarida do Coração de Maria, a nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites who lived between 1915 and 2005. In the Carmel near the Sanctuary of Aparecida, she was deputy mistress of novices and subpriora. Together with seven sisters, she founded a monastery in Três Pontas, where she became a point of reference for the sisters and for the faithful who turned to her, calling her Our Mother, to ask for advice, spiritual direction and help. She committed herself to living the Decrees of the Second Vatican Council with the Community and took care of the biblical, spiritual and liturgical formation of the sisters. A lung disease, lived in tireless prayer, led to her death. of the Heart of Mary Sister Tereza Marga
Source: Vatican News Portugese