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Pope Francis declares blind 14th-century lay Dominican a saint

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A statue of St. Margaret of Castello at St. Patrick Church in Columbus, Ohio. / Nheyob via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0).

CNA Staff, Apr 24, 2021 / 06:20 am (CNA).

Pope Francis declared a blind 14th-century Italian lay Dominican a saint Saturday using a process known as “equipollent” canonization.

The Holy See press office said April 24 that the pope had authorized the extension of the liturgical cult of Blessed Margaret of Castello to the universal Church during a Saturday morning meeting with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

She will now be inscribed among the saints via the procedure also called “equivalent” canonization, where the requirement for a miracle attributed to the candidate’s intercession is waived.

Margaret of Castello was born blind and with a severe curvature of the spine in 1287 in Castello della Metola, present-day central Italy. Her parents abandoned her in 1303 inside a church. She was discovered by local townsfolk, who began caring for her.

She came in contact with the then recently founded Dominican order and was admitted to the Third Order of St. Dominic. While remaining a laywoman, she received a religious habit, which she wore for the rest of her life.

To thank her neighbors for raising her, she opened a small school, where she taught children the Psalms, which she had learned by heart, and instructed them in the Catholic faith.

She died in 1320, at the age of 33, and was buried inside the church, where her tomb quickly became associated with miracles.

Pope Paul V declared her Blessed by equivalent beatification in 1609.

Candidates for equipollent canonization must meet three criteria. They must be the subject of a long-standing cult. They must have a solid and enduring reputation for virtue. They must also have a long association with miracles.

While there were few equipollent canonizations in the 20th century, Benedict XVI declared Hildegard of Bingen a saint via the procedure in 2012.

Pope Francis has used the process relatively frequently. Saints made by equivalent canonization since his election include Angela of Foligno and Peter Faber in 2013, José de Anchieta, Marie of the Incarnation, and François de Laval de Montmorency in 2014, and Bartholomew of Braga in 2019.

During Saturday’s meeting with Semeraro, the pope also authorized the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints to promulgate a decree recognizing the heroic virtues of the Argentine millionaire Enrique Shaw.

Shaw was born in Paris, France, in 1921, and emigrated to Argentina, where he established himself as a businessman of outstanding integrity. He founded the Christian Association of Business Executives in 1952 and sought to apply Catholic social teaching in the workplace. He died in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1962.

Pope Francis oversaw the diocesan phase of Shaw’s cause while he was serving as archbishop of the Argentine capital.

The pope praised Shaw in a 2015 interview with the Mexican television station Televisa.

He said: “Enrique Shaw was rich, yet saintly. A person can have money. God gives it to him so he can administer it well, and this man administered it well.”

The pope added that Shaw used his wealth “not with paternalism, but by fostering the growth of people who needed help.”

The decree means that Shaw can now be referred to as “Venerable.”

Heroic virtue is one of the requirements for beatification in the Catholic Church. A verified miracle attributed to the candidate’s intercession is also usually required.

Pope Francis also authorized a decree Saturday recognizing the martyrdoms of 12 members of the Redemptorists religious congregation killed during the Spanish Civil War.

He formally acknowledged that Vincenzo Nicasio Renuncio Toribio and his 11 companions were killed in hatred of the faith in the Spanish capital, Madrid, in 1936.

In addition, the pope approved decrees recognizing the heroic virtues of four other candidates for canonization:

• Cardinal Pietro Marcellino Corradini (1658-1743), the bishop of the Italian diocese of Frascati who founded the Collegine Sisters of the Holy Family, providing religious instruction for girls.

• Emanuele Stablum (1895-1950), an Italian physician who belonged to the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception (C.F.I.C.)

• María de los Desamparados Portilla Crespo (1925-1996), a Spanish laywoman and mother of 11 children. Known as Amparo Portilla Crespo, she was renowned for her care of the poor and sick, and the serenity with which she accepted her diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

• Anfrosina Berardi (1920-1933), an Italian girl known for devotion to the Virgin Mary who died at the age of 12 from complications following appendicitis.


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    • Daughter of the Church

      “Enrique Shaw was rich, yet saintly. A person can have money. God gives it to him so he can administer it well, and this man administered it well.” this statement by Antipope Francis is in line with Our Lord’s teachings, as well as His own life on earth. Jesus Christ had one of, if not the richest man of Palestine as friend in the person of St. Lazarus. Lazarus’ father Theophile came from Syria and under the protection of the Romans established in Palestine. Lazarus inherited huge estates everywhere in Judea and apparently was the real estate owner of about a third of Jerusalem. Lazarus owned the Cenacle, the Olive Garden of Gethsémani among others. He had stayed away from the Sanhedrin following the scandals of his little sister. Mary-Magdalene’s scandals had caused great sufferings to Lazarus, and had obligated Martha to not wed.
      Lazarus is the prime example of the rich who used his money for the real good cause, which is to serve the Lord. St. Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, both members of the Sanhedrin, and friends of Lazarus were also very rich. Let’s not forget the Three Magies.
      There is little doubt that Enrique Shaw had similar qualities of wealth and saintliness, and that Mister Bergoglio is right in his wish of saintly recognition of Mister Enrique Shaw, as well as a wish of canonization of Blessed Margaret of Castello (authentically beatified by “Pope Paul V declared her Blessed by equivalent beatification in 1609.” ). Unfortunately this…

      • Daughter of the Church

        - – - let’s continue the comment – - -

        Unfortunately this cannot be! because an elevation is done by a legitimate pope, and Mister Bergoglio is not a pope. Mister Bergoglio is a usurper pope: an antipope who has no jurisdiction over the Church of Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church.

        Nota Bene: Those lines above are undeniable facts, and in no way constitute a judgement against Mister Bergoglio, who, this time tells something having sense. It is not a “judgement” to expose historical facts about the papacy. St. Catherine of Sienna never judged the several antipopes of her time, and she certainly had very visible reasons to do so, since the entire Christian nations knew of the absurde presence of “three popes” with one being in exile in Avignon. The gravity of current situation is the same as during the exile in Avignon for the Church, because it is headless. A headless Church is deprived of the Holy Ghost, and man cannot do anything good with the Holy Spirit of God. This is what St. Catherine of Sienna told, and this is why the authentic Pope returned from Avignon to Rome. St. Catherine of Sienna continue to tell the same from heaven to-day, that “the Pope must return to Rome”, but the situation differs, because the Adversary is so powerful that the authentic Pope in exile is forced to remain anonymous. Mister Bergoglio shows to sometimes having sense, may be, he could use his chair to invite the authentic Pope back in Rome. Then the authentic Vicar of Christ will restaure the Roman Catholic Church to her lost splendor, and some genuinely meriting saintly persons will be be legitimately canonized. May be Mister Bergoglio could be legitimately canonized as “martyr to the Truth”.

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