On October 14, 2018, Pope Francis canonized seven new saints. These new saints are Pope Paul VI, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Father Vincenzo Romano, Sister Nazaria Ignacia de Santa Teresa de Jesús March Mesa, Father Francesco Spinelli, Sister Maria Katharina Kasper, and Nunzio Sulprizio. Let’s take a look at these new saints!
Giovanni Battista Montini was born in northern Italy in 1897. He was a student of literature, philosophy, and Canon Law. He worked for the Vatican for much of his life, then was named archbishop of Milan. He was named a cardinal in 1958 by Pope St. John XXIII, and five years later was elected as his successor to the papacy. Pope Paul VI continued and then concluded the Second Vatican Council; this was his greatest accomplishment. He was one of the first popes in many years to leave Rome. He visited the Holy Land in 1964 and later made eight more international trips. He was a hardworking diplomat across the world and wrote many encyclical letters. His two most important encyclicals were on the prohibition of birth control (Humanae Vitae) and evangelization in the modern world (Evangelii Nuntiandi). Both of these works, and a biography, are linked below.
In humble obedience then to her voice, let Christian husbands and wives be mindful of their vocation to the Christian life, a vocation which, deriving from their Baptism, has been confirmed anew and made more explicit by the Sacrament of Matrimony. For by this sacrament they are strengthened and, one might almost say, consecrated to the faithful fulfillment of their duties. Thus will they realize to the full their calling and bear witness as becomes them, to Christ before the world. [See GS, no. 48] For the Lord has entrusted to them the task of making visible to men and women the holiness and joy of the law which united inseparably their love for one another and the cooperation they give to God’s love, God who is the Author of human life. – Saint Pope Paul VI
From 1977 until his death, Oscar Romero was archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador. In a time of political unrest and injustice in his country, Romero was an outspoken opponent. He was not, however, a proponent of liberation theology, which was condemned by Pope St. John Paul II. On March 24, 1980, while saying Mass, Oscar Romero was shot and killed by assassins. Pope Francis declared him a martyr in 2015 and beatified him in the same year in El Salvador in front of a crowd of over 250,000 people.
The violence we preach is not
the violence of the sword,
the violence of hatred.
It is the violence of love,
the violence that wills to beat weapons
into sickles for work. –Saint Oscar Romero
Father Romano was a parish priest near Naples, Italy. He became a priest in 1775. He was given the nickname “The Worker Priest” because of his efforts for his people, especially the poor. In 1794, Mount Vesuvius destroyed most of his hometown, Torre del Greco, which he himself helped to rebuild. He was known for his simplistic manner of life and for his love and care of his people.
Nazaria Ignacia was born in Madrid, Spain and joined the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly at the age of 19 in Mexico. However, she was called to the religious life at the early age of 9. She later went to Bolivia to care for the elderly. She founded the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Pontifical Crusade later in her life which took her to Spain, Uruguay, and Argentina. This congregation sought to proclaim the Gospel and promote the dignity of the human person.
Father Spinelli was born in Milan, Italy. He helped to establish the Congregation of the Sacramentine Sisters of Bergamo with St. Geltrude Comensoli devoted to the Eucharistic and especially Eucharistic devotion. In Cremona, Italy he later founded the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament which now have houses in South America and Africa.
Maria Kasper was born in Dernbach, Germany in 1820. She wanted to join religious life but was unable to join for many years because of her family’s economic situation. However, in 1851, she was finally able to establish the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ to care for the poor, especially children and those suffering illness. The sisters made their way to the United States in 1868 and came to Indiana. There are now congregation houses in the United States, Europe, Mexico, India, Brazil, Kenya, and Nigeria.
Nunzio was born in 1817 and died in 1836 at the age of 19. He became an apprentice blacksmith. However, he was tragically crippled in one leg by his physically abusive uncle. With another uncle, he moved to Naples and had to have his leg amputated because of bone cancer. The people of Naples loved the boy because of his care for the poor and sick. He offered his intense suffering in patience and love to Christ.
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