DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     July 6, 1999     vol. 10, no. 129

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Will Also Canonize First Female Mexican Saint

          VATICAN CITY, JUL 2 (ZENIT).- In the near future, the Church will have fourteen new saints. They were proclaimed Friday in a public morning consistory held at the Vatican in John Paul II's presence.

          Among the new saints will be Giuseppina Bakhita, a Sudanese slave who became a nun shortly after her baptism. She was born in 1869 in Dafur, and was kidnapped when she was 9 years old and sold into slavery. Her owners took her to Venice. When her owners decided to return to Sudan, Giuseppina refused to follow them. The city's attorney agreed with her, and she regained her liberty. She was baptized in 1890 and, three years later, entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity. She spent the rest of her life in the magnificent simplicity of the convent.

          Along with Giuseppina, the sanctity of Cirilo Bretran and eight companion martyrs will also be recognized -- they were Brothers of the Christian Schools -- along with Fr. Inocencio of Mary Immaculate, a Passionist priest who, like Bretran and his companions, died a martyr during the religious persecution of the Spanish Civil War.

          In addition, among those to be canonized will be Mexican Sister Maria de Jesus Sacramentado Venegas, founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, who died 40 years ago. She is the first female saint from Mexico.

          Italy will have two new saints. The first is Benedetto Menni (1841-1914), of the Hospitaler Order of St. John of God, who reorganized this religious order in Spain after it had been suppressed by anticlerical laws. He opened 22 hospitals in Spain, Portugal and Mexico. He was also the founder of the Congregation of Hospitaler Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

          Tommaso da Cori (1655-1720), the second new Italian saint, entered the Franciscan Order at 22 years of age; he established the "retreats" of the Order of Friars Minor -- individual communities in which the Franciscan rule was observed with great austerity.

          The Spanish martyrs and the two Italian saints will be canonized on November 21 of this year. Sister Giuseppina Bakhita will be proclaimed a saint on October 1, 2000. The date for the canonization of the Mexican Blessed remains to be decided, although it will almost certainly take place in Rome during the Jubilee celebrations. ZE99070204

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.

July 6, 1999       volume 10, no. 129


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