DAILY CATHOLIC     MONDAY     October 26, 1998     vol. 9, no. 209

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN CITY (CWNews.com) - On Sunday October 25, Pope John Paul II beatified in Rome four new Servants of God. Zeferino Agostini, an Italian priest(1813-1896), founded Ursuline Sisters, Daughters of Mary Immaculate; Antonio de Sant'Anna Galvao, a Brazilian priest (1739-1822), founded the monastery of the Conceptionist Sisters "Meditation of Light"; Faustino Miguez, a Spanish priest (1831-1925), founded the Congregation of the Calasanziennes Sisters "of the Divine Shepherd"; and a Frenchwoman, Mother Theodore Guerin (1798-1856), foundress of the Sisters of Providence of "Saint-Mary-of-the Woods" in the US.

          Zeferino Agostini was born in Verona on September 24, 1813. He entered the seminary and was distinguished by his piety, his discipline, and his success in studies. He was ordained on March 11, 1837 and was immediately assigned to parish pastoral ministry in 1845 and he did not leave it until his death fifty years later. He started many social and pastoral initiatives in this very populated district of the city. To assist and continue his work, he founded in 1856 the congregation of the Ursuline Daughters of Mary Immaculate. He died at the age of 83 on April 6, 1896.

          Antonio de Sant'Anna Galvao, a Franciscan Brazilian and priest, was born in Guaratingueta, in the heart of the State of Sao Paulo, to a wealthy and very Christian family. At 13 years old, he was sent by his father to study at a Jesuit seminary between 1752 and 1756. He then entered the novitiate of the Franciscans of the Reform of St. Peter of Alcantara near Rio, when he was 21 years old, in 1760. The following year, he made his solemn profession, committing himself to promoting the title of "Immaculate" Mary (in 1766, it would be officially given to the Virgin Mary). The following year, he was ordained a priest. At the end of his studies, in 1768, he was named preacher, confessor, and porter of his monastery and chaplain of a convent of religious sisters in Sao Paulo.

          He founded a new monastery with Sister Helena Maria Espirito Santo who died suddenly in 1775. But the community continued to grow, under the guidance of Fra Antonio. He was named novice master in 1781, then guardian of the convent of Sao Paulo in 1798. He later founded a new convent of sisters before dying on December 23, 1822.

          Faustino Miguez, a Piarist priest, was born to a family of Christian farmers, and later entered the Poor Clerics of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools (Piarists or Scolopes) and took the habit in Madrid, where he accepted the name of Faustino of the Incarnation. He then taught in Cuba, at the invitation of St. Anthony Mary Claret. He continued to teach in various colleges on his return to Spain, and dedicated himself to the manufacture of medicines for the sick. In 1885, he received authorization to found the congregation of the Maids of the Divine Shepherd for the education of children and poor girls. He died in Madrid on March 8, 1925, in his nineties.

          Mother Theodore Guerin, French sister of Providence, foundress of the Sisters of Providence of "Saint-Mary-of-the Woods," was born Anne-Therese Guerin in Etables, France. She decided, at her first communion, at ten years old, to become a nun. With the death of her father, a soldier of Napoleon assassinated by bandits, she had to support her mother and to educate her younger sister. She was 25 years old when she was able to enter the Sisters of Providence of Ruille in Loir, devoted to the teaching of children and the care of the poor, the sick, and the dying. She took the holy name of Sister Theodore. She was asked later to accompany a group of five Sisters of Providence on a mission in the United States. She arrived at "Saint-Mary-of-the Woods," in Indiana, in 1840. The new community suffered from anti-Catholic prejudices, betrayals, misunderstandings, separation of the new community from the congregation of Ruille, diseases, fire, and more.

          But less than one year after her arrival, Mother Guerin opened a school, then others, in Illinois. At her death on May 14, 1856, sixteen years after her arrival, the new congregation had established a firm foundation.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

October 26, 1998       volume 9, no. 209


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