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Confirmed: canonization for Father Damien July 03, 2008

The Vatican has cleared the way for the canonization of Blessed Damien of Molokai, and the beatification of the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux.

At a July 3 private audience with Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Benedict XVI approved a series of decrees concerning candidates for beatification and canonization.

Confirming a report that had circulated earlier in the week, the Congregation approved the authenticity of a miracle through the intercession of Blessed Damien of Molokai (1840- 1889). That miracle fulfills the requirements for his canonization, and a ceremony will be scheduled soon.

The decrees issued on July 3 certified miracles attributed to the intercession of two other candidates who had already been beatified, and now will be scheduled for canonization. They are Blessed Bernardo Tolomei (1272- 1348), an Italian Benedictine; and Blessed Nuno di Santa Maria Alvares Pereira (1360- 1431), a Portuguese lay Carmelite.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints also certified a miracle through the influence of Ludovico Martin and Maria Zelia Guerin Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux. That miracle fulfills the requirements for their beatification. The announcement of their impending beatification comes as Catholics in Lisieux prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of their marriage, with ceremonies scheduled for July 12 and 13.

Another decree proclaimed that Francesco Giovanni Bonifacio (1912- 1946), an Italian, was "killed in hatred of the faith," and can therefore be classified as a martyr. He too is now eligible for beatification.

The Congregation also certified that 7 other candidates for beatification had shown "heroic virtue." They will now be eligible for beatification if a miracle is accredited to their intercession. They are:

  1. Stephen Douayhy (1630-1704), a Lebanese Maronite patriarch;
  2. Bernardino Dal Vago da Portogruaro (1822-1895), an Italian Franciscan and archbishop;
  3. Giuseppe Di Donna (1901-1952), an Italian bishop;
  4. Maria Barbara of the Blessed Trinity Maix, (1818-1873), an Australian religious foundress;
  5. Pius Keller (1825-1904), a German Augustinian priest;
  6. Andres Hibernon Garmendia (1880-1969), a Spanish religious; and
  7. Chiara Badano (1971-1990), an Italian lay woman.