DAILY CATHOLIC    TUESDAY     May 12, 1998     vol. 9, no. 92

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- On Sunday, May 10, Pope John Paul II presided at beatification ceremonies for 10 nuns who were martyred the Spanish Civil War, a Maronite monk, and a Carmelite nun.

          Among the pilgrims present for the ceremonies were Lebanese President Elias Hrauoui and Queen Fabiola of Belgium. An estimated 10,000 Lebanese Maronite pilgrims also made the trip to Rome for the occasion, and Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir concelebrated the liturgy in St. Peter's Square along with the Pontiff and Cardinals Angel Goicoechea and Antonio Rouco Varela-- the past and present archbishops of Madrid.

          In his homily the Holy Father called once again for peace in Lebanon, urging the country's people to work for reconciliation, so that Lebanon "might continue to be a country of witnesses and saints." He invoked the example of Blessed Nimatullah Al-Hardini, a monk who, "by his ascetic rigor and his long prayers before the Blessed Sacrament, by his care for theological research and his sympathetic attention toward his brothers," set an example for Christian monks and for the Maronite community.

          As he saluted the 10 martyrs who died in Spain in 1936, the Pope made reference to the more recent violence in that land, caused by conflict with Basque separatists. He called for peace and reconciliation there, too, saying that the nuns had offered the sacrifice of their lives while at the same time forgiving those who killed them. He offered his prayers for "a change of heart" on the part of those who continue to "use terror and violence to impose their ideas."

          Also beatified was Mother Maravillas Pidal y Chico de Guzman (1891-1974), a Carmelite nun whose father had once served as Spain's ambassador to the Holy See. She joined the Carmelite order after reading the works of Sts. Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross, and became the founder of several new convents. After suffering herself during the Civil War, she obtained Vatican permission in 1972 to unite the convents she had founded as the Association of St. Theresa.

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May 12, 1998       volume 9, no. 92


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