DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     June 29, 1999     vol. 10, no. 125

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Beatification of Children of Fatima Confirmed

          VATICAN CITY, JUN 28 (ZENIT).- This morning the decrees of 18 causes of proposed saints of the Church were promulgated in the presence of Pope John Paul II. Two of the causes were for canonization, five for beatification, three were declarations of martyrdom, and eight were in recognition of heroic practice of virtues.

          Among the new saints are Cristoforo Magallanes and his 24 companion martyrs, all of them killed during the persecutions in Mexico between 1915-1937, and the Spanish founder of the Servants of Jesus, Blessed Maria Josefa del Corazon de Jesus, born on September 7, 1842 in Vitoria; she died in Bilbao on March 20, 1912.

    Fatima Children

          The proclamation of the most eagerly anticipated beatification -- that of Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the little shepherds of Fatima, who with Sr. Lucia -- who still lives in a Carmelite Convent in Coimbra, Portugal, and has passed her 90th birthday -- were witnesses of the apparitions that took place from May 13 to October 13, 1917, on the 13th of each month.

          According to the three shepherds, Our Lady appeared as the Virgin of the Rosary and, as a great gift, made them understand the importance of prayer, conversion and penance. Today there is a Basilica in the place of the apparitions; it is one of the principal pilgrimage centers of the world.

          In a message to the Portuguese in 1942, Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. John Paul II feels very close to Fatima, as he is convinced that it was the Virgin who saved his life in the attempt of May 13, 1981.


          In addition to the Fatima children, the Church proclaimed four new blessed: three Italian founders of religious congregations (Arcangelo Tadini, Rosa Gattorno and Caterina Volpicelli) and one Canadian, Mary Esther Soureau-Blondin, founder of the Congregation of Sisters of Saint Anne, who died on January 2, 1890.

    Women and Martyrs

          John Paul II also proclaimed the martyrdom of several extraordinary women of our century. In all, nine female victims of the religious persecution that struck Spain in 1936 were named. The list of new martyrs is completed by eleven Polish religious of the Holy Family of Nazareth, killed by the Nazis on August 1, 1943 in Nowogrodek, present-day Byelorussia. For recognized martyrs, no proof of a miracle wrought by their intercession is necessary before beatification.

    Heroic Christians

          Among those in whom John Paul II recognized the heroic practice of virtue, the most well known is Columba Marmion, an Irish Benedictine priest who died in 1923, one of the greatest teachers of modern spirituality. Other examples of heroic Christian life officially proclaimed by the Pope are Jeronimo Mariano Usera y Alarcon, Spanish priest who died in Havana in 1891; Pablo de Anda y Padilla, priest and Mexican founder who died in 1904; Maria del Transito Cabanillas, founder of the Franciscan Missionaries of Argentina, who died in San Vicente de Cordoba in 1885; Indian religious Maria Teresa Chiramel Mankidiyan, founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family, who died in 1926; and Swiss religious Maria J. Carolina Brader, founder of the Franciscans of Mary Immaculate, who died on February 23, 1943 in Pasto, Colombia. ZE99062806

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.

June 29, 1999       volume 10, no. 125


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