VATICAN ( -- The Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints today issued a series of decrees: 10 affirming that candidates for beatification had lived lives of "heroic virtue," 8 recognizing a miracle performed intercession the intercession of a candidate, and one recognizing the death of a martyr.

      The formal recognition of a life of "heroic virtue" completes the first major step in the progress of a case for beatification; after that decree is published, the approval of a miracle paves the way for the Pope to approve and schedule the beatification. The recognition of a martyr's death, on the other hand, opens the route to beatification directly.

      The list of decrees published today covers a number of priests, nuns, and religious brothers, from Italy, France, Spain, Poland, Ukraine, Austria, and Brazil. A martyr's death was proclaimed for Sister Maria Restituta-- born Helene Kafka-- who was killed by Nazis in 1943 and will be beatified by Pope John Paul II during his June trip to Austria.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:To subscribe to Catholic World News Service, available daily by e-mail, click here .

April 7, 1998 volume 9, no. 69         DAILY CATHOLIC