April 10, 2000
volume 11, no. 71
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

Sunday's Beatifications: 5 Blessed from 5 Countries and 3 Continents

    VATICAN CITY, APR 7 ( On Sunday, April 9, the Pope proclaimed the beatification of five persons representing 5 countries. The group includes a Colombian, a German, a Swede, an Italian, and an Indian.

    In his close to 21 years as Pontiff, John Paul II has proclaimed 987 Blessed. To these must be added the two little shepherds of the Fatima apparitions, who will be raised to the glory of the altars on May 13 of this year. Before the end of 2000, the Holy Father will surpass the 1,000 mark in terms of beatifications.

    Sunday's beatifications highlight the universality of sanctity. "Padre Marianito" Euse Hoyos (1845-1926) will be the first Colombian Blessed. As a diocesan priest, he dedicated his life to the rural workers of his country (Cf. ZE00040402).

    Francis Xavier Seelos (1818-1867) of Bavaria, was a missionary for U.S. immigrants in Connecticut, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Louisiana (See article below).

    Maria Elisabeth Hesselblad (1870-1957) was a Swedish Lutheran who converted to Catholicism. With her life and work she gave great impetus to the ecumenical dialogue. While in Rome, during the Second World War, she worked tirelessly to rescue Jews from Nazi persecution, in keeping with Pope Pius XII's express request (Cf. ZE00040607).

    Anna Rosa Gattorno (1831-1900) was the mother of a family of the high bourgeoisie of Genoa. The family fell into misfortune and she was widowed. She educated her children in most difficult circumstances. Once they were grown up, she entered the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Anne, which she herself had founded to help the poor and sick (See article below).

    Mariam Thresia Mankidiyan (1876-1926) was born in a city of Kerala, India. She had mystical experiences and founded the Congregation of the Holy Family, dedicated to the service of the poorest families, especially the children's education (See article below). ZE00040703

BEATIFICATION OF ANNA ROSA GATTORNO Wife, Mother, and Founder of Religious Congregation

    Wife, mother, and founder of a religious congregation, Anna Rosa Gattorno was born in Genoa on October 14, 1831. Widowed at 27, she dedicated herself to the care of her children, one of whom died not longer after her husband's death. In 1858 she took private perpetual vows of chastity and obedience and, 3 years later, the vow of poverty. In 1862 she received hidden stigmata. Four years later, together with Fr. Giovannio Battista Tornatore, she founded the Institute of the Daughters of St. Anne in Piacenza.

    Perplexed over having to leave her children and elderly parents to follow her vocation, she regained her peace of mind after hearing Pope Pius IX's encouraging words: "Like the flight of doves, this institute will spread rapidly to all parts of the world. God will look after your children; think only of God in your work." The Institute's rule was approved in 1892; 12 years after its foundation, 16 women left to establish houses in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Eritrea. The founder was distinguished by her maternal affection for her young Sisters; they felt understood and safely guided. The work included total dedication to the poor and the sick, to the abandoned and elderly, and to young people "at risk." Numerous hostels, schools and kindergartens were opened. The Institute also collaborated with Bishop Scalabrini of Piacenza, who was engaged in an apostolate for the deaf and dumb.

    Mother Anna Rosa Gattorno died of influenza at the motherhouse in Rome on May 6, 1900. When she died, her Congregation had established 368 houses and included 3,500 Sisters. Today, her charism is followed by the lay association "Movement of Hope," a Secular Institute, the Contemplative Order of the Daughters of St. Anne (perpetual adoration) and the Sons of St. Anne. ZE00040720


    At 10 years of age, Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan spiritually consecrated herself to virginity. Two years later, after her mother's death, she dedicated herself to prayer, the poor and the sick, and comforted lonely people in her parish.

    Mariam Thresia was born on April 26, 1876, in a provincial village of Trichur, in the state of Kerala, India. She grew up in a difficult family situation. Unable to cope with sudden poverty, her father and elder brother turned to alcohol. Mariam Thresia, instead, turned to prayer. From her earliest years, she had an intense desire to love God. Anticipating Mother Teresa of Calcutta's work by half a century, she worked with the very poor. Together with three friends, she formed a prayer group, and engaged in apostolic work on the streets, with the neediest families of the village.

    In 1903 Mariam Thresia requested permission from her Bishop to build a house of prayer and retreat, but Apostolic Vicar Mar John Menachery of Trichur decided to put her vocation to the test. Over this period, Mariam Thresia entered several Congregations; finally, in 1913 the Bishop granted the longed for permission to build the home. Here Mariam Thresia and her friends led a life of prayer and penance, while continuing to visit the poor, the sick, and the untouchables in Indian society.

    Just over a decade after Mariam Thresia's request to her Bishop, he realized that the work she and her friends carried out was the beginning of a new religious order. On May 14, 1914, the Congregation of the Holy Family was canonically established. By 1926, Mariam Thresia and her companions had set up 3 new convents, 2 day schools, 2 boarding schools, a study home, and an orphanage. Mariam Thresia died on June 8, of that year.

    Today the Congregation of the Holy Family operates in Kerala and northern India, as well as Germany, Italy and Ghana, with a total of 1,854 professed nuns and 119 novices in 176 homes in 7 provinces. ZE00040722


    Born in Fussen, Bavaria, in 1809, Francis Xavier Seelos was well educated and had a special gift for languages, but his most outstanding characteristic was his humility. He was ordained a Redemptorist priest in Baltimore, Maryland in 1844. Always loyal to the Order's charism, he was at heart a "missionary with a constant smile on his lips and a generous heart, particularly toward the needy and outscasts," his followers said.

    His confessional was always open to everyone. He heard confessions in German, English, and French, from anyone, regardless of race. As a priest, he was distinguished for his "simple lifestyle and language," so much so that his sermons were heard and understood even by the most ignorant. Of all the souls entrusted to his care, the ones he was especially fond of were the children. He considered the catechesis of children "fundamental for the Christian growth of the parish community."

    In 1860, when Bishop Michael O'Connor of Pittsburgh was leaving the diocese, he "nominated" Seelos as his most reliable successor. But Francis Xavier wrote Pope Pius IX, begging him to free him "from this act of God." When the Civil War broke out in the United States new laws were passed in regard to military service. In 1863 all men were obliged to be available for active duty. At the time, Seelos was Superior of the Redemptorist Seminary.

    He went to Washington to meet President Abraham Lincoln and was successful in releasing the Seminary students from being sent to the front. Seelos lost his position as Prefect of Students shortly thereafter, for being "too lenient" with youth. As a result, from 1863 to 1866 Francis Xavier Seelos devoted himself to itinerant missionary work, preaching in English and German in many parts of the United States. He died at 48 of yellow fever, spending several weeks "patiently and light-heartedly tolerating the illness." ZE00040721


April 10, 2000
volume 11, no. 71

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