God’s grace at work

After a couple of months haitus, I was able to get back into my regular talks with Brian Patrick, on Sacred Heart Radio’s Son Rise Morning Show this morning.  The topic of our monthly visit is ongoing causes of people who may one day be recognized as saints by the Catholic Church.

The biggest deal in this department these days is Pope John Paul II.  The fourth anniversary of his death last Thursdaywas marked by much speculation about the possibility of this great Pope’s beatification one year from now.  And it wasn’t just anyone who was speculating.  Pope Benedict XVI, who marked the anniversary with a special Mass at the Vatican, said he is praying for John Paul’s beatification (which, let’s face it, is sort of like my wife saying she hopes we’ll be having tortellini for dinner some time this week, as she sits making our grocery list). 

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwicz, once Pope John Paul’s personal secretary of many decades and now the Archbishop of Krakow, did not hesitate to talk about the possibility publicly — or to talk about the reported miracle that happened at the Pope’s tomb last week!  (And that wasn’t the only JP2-related healing in the news.  Thanks to Sacred Heart’s Matt Swain for pointing this one out to me.)

Brian and I also talked about the opening of a new cause for beatification/canonization that happened in Spain recently.  Rebecca Rocamora Naadal died only 13 years ago, in 1996, at the age of 20.  She didn’t die for her faith or work any dramatic miracles during her life — she simply lived out her faith vibrantly, even heroically, and even when doing it was hard.  Rebecca had survived a brain tumor during her childhood, reportedly through the intercession of Mary.  But her teen years were normal and full of life and beauty.  She led her parish youth group and was involved in preparing kids for the first Communions.  When she was 20, she was diagnosed with cancer again, and this time it took her quickly.  It was her faith and fortitude in this situation which really gave testimony to her sanctity. 

Her fame has spread quickly in the few years since her death.  Announcing the opening of her cause last month was a major event in the diocese. 

Finally, we discussed the new list of up-and-comings just released by the Vatican a few days ago.  One approved miracle was attributed to the intercession of the Italian Giuseppina de Micheli (known in religious life as Sr. Maria Pierina).  That means her next step is beatification.  Giuseppina is known in Italy for fostering devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.  She died in 1945.

In addition to that, the Vatican listed ten people whom the Pope had formally recognized as having led lives of heroic virtue.  Particularly notable among them is Sr. Irma Dulce, a Brazilian sister who died only 17 years ago.  Her Wikipedia entry reports that she is one of the most admired women in the history of Brazil today, and that she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, because of her care for the poor, before her death. 

The list also includes a lay Italian man, Giacomo Gaglioni, and a lay French woman, Benoite Rencurel, who reportedly experienced apparitions of Mary for half a century.

So much evidence of the work of the Spirit, the work of grace, in the Church!  Thanks be to God.

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