July 6, 2022

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The Pope declared ten personalities of the Church, including Charles de Foucault, “saints”

The Pope declared ten personalities of the Church, including Charles de Foucault, "saints"

The Pope declared ten personalities of the Church, including Charles de Foucault, “saints”

Pope Francis on Sunday declared ten “saints” of the Catholic Church, including desert hermit Charles de Foucault, before some 45,000 faithful from around the world gathered in St Peter’s Square in Rome.

Among these ten were the French “Holy” Marie Rivière (1768-1838) and César de Bus (1544-1607) as well as the Dutch priest and journalist Titus Brandsma, known for his commitment against Nazi propaganda during World War II and who was murdered in Dachau in 1942.

Arriving by car, Pope Francis, 85, who has knee pain, did not appear in a wheelchair to preside over the Holy Mass – the first since the pandemic – along with about fifty cardinals and 2,000 priests and bishops.

Early on Sunday, in summer weather, groups of pilgrims – many from France, Holland, Africa and Latin America – began to flock to the largest basilica in the world, where images of new “saints” were hung. And some pilgrims themselves wore a dress in their doll.

“Our son is called Foucault, it is a pleasure to come with the family to sanctify his patron saint. It will only happen once in his life, so we all come,” said Marie, her 30-year-old mother from Bourg en Bryce.

“For two years we have suffered a lot locally, in our small parishes, in our parishes, at a distance, and finally (…) we can meet together around the Holy Father,” rejoiced AFP Archbishop Luc Ravel of Strasbourg.

This reverence “gives a universal scope to Saint Charles de Foucault, which is to join below what he always wanted to be and what Pope Francis tells us at the end of his encyclical + fratelli totti + (all brothers)”, he added, referring to the title of the desert hermit, Global Brother.

– ‘Great emotion’ –

“With the increasing distances, tensions and wars in the world unfortunately, I hope that these new saints will inspire avenues of dialogue, especially the hearts and minds of those who occupy positions of responsibility, called to be heroes of peace and not war,” the Pope declared at the end of the Mass.

Sanctification – the final step towards “holiness” in the Catholic Church, after beatification – requires three conditions: to have been dead for at least five years, to have returned to a perfect Christian life, and to perform at least two miracles.

The trial for the beatification of Charles de Foucault, assassinated in 1916, began in Tamanrasset, south of the Algerian Sahara, in the 1930s, and was declared “blessed” by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

After recovering from cancer in 1984, the Vatican attributed to him a second miracle: the extraordinary story of a young carpenter from Saumur (central France), who in 2016 survived a 15-meter fall on a bench, despite a punctured stomach.

Martyr Devashyam (Lazar) Pillai (1712-1752), a Hindu convert to Christianity, was the first Indian layman to become a “saint”. He was arrested, tortured for three years and then executed after refusing to renounce his faith.

The other five are Italian priests Luigi Maria Palazzolo and Giustino Maria Rossolillo, Italian nuns Maria Domenica Mantovani and Maria de Gesu Santocanal, and Uruguayan Italian Maria Francesca Robato, who became Uruguay’s first saint.

Nancy Gomez, 46, a Colombian, said she felt “a great emotion” to witness the final recognition of this nun who “helped children and those in need”.

After the ceremony, which lasted nearly two hours, the eminent Pope, smiling, engaged in his traditional “Popemobile” tour of the square, kissing, blessing and greeting the faithful gathered behind parapets.

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