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SPECIAL: Popes Pius XII, John Paul II declared 'venerable'

Catholic World News - December 19, 2009

In a series of decrees issued on December 19, the Vatican has approved miracles allowing for the canonization of five people and the beatification of five others. The Vatican also recognized the 1984 murder of Father Jerzy Popieluszko by Communist intelligence officers as a martyrdom, preparing the way for his beatification.

The decrees, approved by Pope Benedict XVI during a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, also proclaimed that ten other candidates for sainthood had lived lives of heroic virtue. Those decrees make the candidates eligible for beatification if a miracle is attributed to their intercession.

The two decrees commanding the greatest public attention were those recognizing the heroic virtue of Pope Pius XII, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, and Pope John Paul II, who reigned from 1978 to 2005.

Five of the December 19 decrees testified to the authenticity of miracles attributed to candidates who have already been beatified, and are now qualified for canonization. They are:

  • Bl. Stanislaus Soltys (Kazimierczyk) (1433-89), whose liturgical cult was formally recognized by Pope John Paul in 1993
  • Bl. André Bessette (1845-1937), a Canadian renowned for his devotion to St. Joseph who developed a reputation as a miracle worker in his lifetime
  • Bl. Mary MacKillop (1842-1909), who founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart and will become Australia’s first canonized saint
  • Bl. Giulia Salzano (1846-1929), foundress of the Congregation of the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart
  • Bl. Camilla Battista da Varano (1458-1524), a Poor Clare nun


  • The Congregation also approved miracles for five other candidates who, like Father Popieluszko, will now be scheduled for beatification:

  • Father José Tous y Soler (1811-71), a Capuchin Franciscan
  • Brother Leopoldo de Alpandeire (1866-1956), a Capuchin Franciscan
  • Manuel Lozano Garrido (1920-71), a Spanish layman
  • Teresa Manganiello (1849-76), a Third Order Franciscan
  • Chiara Badano (1971-90), a laywoman of the Focolare Movement


  • In addition, the Congregation declared the heroic virtue of Bl. Giacomo Illirico da Bitetto, a Franciscan.

    The Congregation also proclaimed the heroic virtue of nine others, who now qualify for the title "Venerable" and may be beatified with the approval of a miracle:

  • Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) (1876-1958)
  • Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) (1920-2005)
  • Father Louis Brisson (1817-1908), founder of the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales
  • Father Giuseppe Quadrio (1921-63), a Salesian
  • Sister Mary Ward (1545-1615), an Englishwoman who founded the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Sisters)
  • Sister Antonia Maria Verna (1773-1838), foundress of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception of Ivrea
  • Sister Francesca Farolfi (Maria Chiara Serafina of Jesus) (1853-1917), foundress of the Missionary Franciscan Clarists of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Sister Enrichetta Alfieri (1891-1951)
  • Giunio Tinarelli (1912-56), a layman and member of the Silent Workers of the Cross
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    Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
    • Posted by: adamah - Dec. 19, 2009 3:28 PM ET USA

      Glory! I am elated that Pius XII and John Paul II are being recognized for their sanctity. I am also pleased Bl. Andre is in his way to canonization.

    • Posted by: [email protected] - Dec. 19, 2009 9:59 AM ET USA

      It is good to know that God is still working in power, in spite of, or because of mans misunderstanding of His Love.

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