On Sunday, May 15, Pope Francis canonized ten holy men and women, raising them to the altar and numbering them among the saints of the Church.
Probably the best known by Catholics among the new saints is St. Charles de Foucauld, a French soldier and world traveler who became a Trappist monk who lived as a hermit among the Muslims of Algeria. Charles was killed by a band of men in 1916. Though he personally never founded a community, his life is the inspiration for several communities, religious and lay, known collectively as “the spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld.”
The new saint who seems to be receiving the most attention from the secular press is St. Titus Brandsma because he is being proposed as a patron saint for journalists. Brandsma was a Dutch Carmelite priest and journalist who was arrested by the Nazis in 1942 for secretly disseminating a letter by his bishop instructing all Catholic newspapers to refuse to publish Nazi propaganda. Brandsma was eventually incarcerated at Dachau concentration camp where his health quickly declined. He was executed by lethal injection in 1942.
The remaining eight newly canonized saints are:
-Devasahayam Pillai: An 18th century convert to Catholicism, Saint Devasahayam was tortured and martyred in his native India for converting from Hinduism to Catholicism.
-Marie Rivier: Mother Rivier founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation in France in 1796 at the young age of 28, even as the Church was suffering severe persecutions during the Reign of Terror.
-Maria Francesca of Jesus: A native of Italy, Mother Maria Francesca crossed the Atlantic Ocean seven times in the 19th century to establish a Capuchin community of sisters in Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil.
Maria Domenica Mantovani: Mother Maria Domenica co-founded the Little Sister of the Holy Family in 1892 to serve the poor, orphaned, and ill in Italy and served as the community’s first general superior.
-Maria of Jesus Santocanale: Mother Maria left a life of nobility in Palermo to become a religious and eventually founded the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate Mary of Lourdes in 1910. Devoted to the Blessed Mother and the Eucharist, she spent her time praying before the Blessed Sacrament when not working for the poor and sick.
-César de Bus: A 16th century French priest, Father de Bus founded two religious congregations, the Christian Doctrine Fathers and the Daughters of Christian Doctrine (later “Ursulines”). He was recognized for the zeal of his faith and his preaching, as well as his many acts of charity.
-Luigi Maria Palazzolo: A 19th century Italian priest, Fr. Palazzolo founded the Sisters of the Poor as well as an orphanage for children in Troaona.
–Giustino Maria Russolillo: Another 20th century saint, Father Russolillo was devoted to the spiritual and academic education of the young. He founded the Vocationist Father, The Vocationist Sisters and the Secular Institute of the Apostles of Universal Sanctification in Italy.
During the canonization Mass, Pope Francis challenged all to follow the example of the newly canonized in their devotion to the Gospel and in living lives of genuine holiness:
“By embracing with enthusiasm their vocation — some as a priest, others as a consecrated woman, as a lay person — they devoted their lives to the Gospel,” Pope Francis said. “They discovered an incomparable joy and they became brilliant reflections of the Lord of history. For that is what a saint is: a luminous reflection of the Lord of history … May we strive to do the same — the path of holiness is not barred; it is universal and it begins with baptism. It is not barred. May we strive to follow it, for each of us is called to holiness, to a form of holiness all our own.”
All holy men and women, pray for us!
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.