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French statesman Robert Schuman declared venerable; 6 other beatification causes advance

June 21, 2021

Pope Francis has approved a decree on the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Robert Schuman (1876-1963), a leading French statesman who worked for European unity after World War II.

Encyclopaedia Britannica notes that

Schuman, a member of the French National Assembly from 1919, was arrested by the German Gestapo in September 1940 after the German occupation of France. He escaped in 1942 and worked in the Résistance until France was liberated (1944). A founder of the Popular Republican Movement (Mouvement Républicain Populaire; MRP), he served as minister of finance (July–November 1946), premier (November 1947–July 1948 and August–September 1948), foreign minister (July 1948–December 1952), and minister of justice (1955–56). While foreign minister he developed the Schuman Plan (1950) to promote European economic and military unity and a Franco-German rapprochement to prevent another war between the two nations.

The Schuman Plan gave rise to the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952 and the European Economic Community (Common Market) in 1958. Schuman later “served as president of the Common Assembly, the consultative arm of the Common Market, from 1958 to 1960 and was an Assembly member until February 1963.”

In his June 19 audience with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis also approved decrees on the heroic virtues of four other Servants of God. Like Schuman, they may now be honored as Venerable:

  • Father Severino Fabriani (1792-1849), an Italian diocesan priest, founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of Providence for Deaf-mutes
  • Sister Aniela Róza Godecka (1861-1937), the Polish foundress of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
  • Sister Orsola Donati (1849-1935), an Italian religious of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Mother of Sorrows
  • Sister María Stella of Jesus (née María Aurelia Iglesias Fidalgo) (1899-1982), a Spanish religious of the Congregation of the Religious of Mary Immaculate

Pope Francis also approved a decree on a miracle attributed to the intercession of a German Jesuit priest, Venerable Johann Philipp Jeningen (1642-1704), paving the way for his beatification.

Finally, the Pontiff approved a decree on the martyrdom of the Servants of God Sister Maria Paschalis Jahn (née Maria Magdalena) and nine companions, religious of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Elizabeth, thus paving the way for their beatification. The ten sisters were killed by Soviet soldiers n Poland and the Czech Republic in 1945, out of hatred for the faith.


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