Tag Archives: beatification

The Martyrs of Drina

On Saturday, September 24th, the Church beatified five Bosnian nuns who were kidnapped and later killed during World War II. The beatification took place in Sarajevo, Bosnia, with upwards of 20,000 people in attendance. Cardinal Angelo Amato from the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints presided at the celebration.

The new blesseds–Jula Ivanisevic, Berchmana Leidenix, Krizina Bojanc, Antonija Fabjan and Bernadeta Banja–were all members of the Daughters of Divine Charity. They served the poor in the Serbian village of Pale. Serb soldiers burned their convent in late 1941.

The nuns were then marched 40 miles in freezing conditions to military barracks near the east Bosnian town of Gorazde. The soldiers beat and tried to rape them. The nuns jumped out of the second-floor windows, and soldiers later stabbed to death those still alive.

“The news of the deaths of the five sisters spread quickly in Sarajevo. Even though it was a time of war, the people remembered them and prayed to the martyrs of Drina, as they were called, for their intercession,” Sr. Maria Ozana Krajacic recalled in a recent edition of the L’Osservatore Romano.

The holy sisters’ story is recounted in the book, The Drina Martyrs, written by Fr. Anto Bakovic.

The Angel of Bahia

Approximately 70,000 Brazilians–including President Dilma Rousseff–turned out last Sunday for the beatification of Sr. Dulce Lopes Pontes (1912-92), who served the poorest of the poor in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.

Sr. Dulce (baptized Maria Rita) entered the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God at the age of 18.

One of the inspirations for her vocation was the life of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. “I think I am like the little love of my small heart, that no matter how much love it has, it is little for such a great God,” wrote Sr. Dulce upon her entrance into religious life. “I think that the Child Jesus is pleased with all little acts of love no matter how small they are.”

She founded the Obras Sociais Irma Dulce, or in English, “The Charitable Works Foundation of Sister Dulce,” as the umbrella-organization for her amazing outreaches to the poor and needy. She was absolutely beloved by the Brazilian people, who sometimes called her “the Angel of Bahia.” Toward the end of her life, she was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

The presider at the beatification was Brazilian Cardinal Dom Geraldo Agnelo. Those unable to attend the event were able to watch the nationally televised ceremony from home.

The miracle for her beatification occurred in 2001, when Cláudia Cristiane Santos, now 42, survived an uncontrolled hemorrhage after giving birth. The bleeding continued despite three operations. Doctors lost all hope that she would survive, but when her family sought the intercession of Sr. Dulce, the bleeding stopped immediately.

Th miracle further confirmed Sr. Dulce’s virtuous life, centered on prayer and charity in little things. “Love overcomes all obstacles, all sacrifices,” she used to say.

For more news reports on the beatification of the “Angel of Bahia,” check out these articles from AFP, CathNews India, and The Pilot.

A Blessed Affair

Pope Benedict presiding at 2010 beatification of Card. Newman

Only weeks before the beatification of Pope John Paul II, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued some new procedures for beatification ceremonies that will help distinguish them from canonizations, in which the Pope infallibly declares a Servant of God to be a “saint.”

During the first Christian millennium, the cult of martyrs and other holy men and women was regulated by local Church authorities. In the 11th century, however, the principle that as universal Pastor of the Church the Roman Pontiff alone has the authority to prescribe a public devotion began to gain prominence. With a Letter to the King and Bishops of Sweden, Alexander III asserted the Pope’s authority to confer the title of Saint and the relevant public cult. This norm became a universal law with Gregory IX in 1234.

In the 1300s, the Holy See began to authorize devotions limited to specific places and to certain Servants of God whose cause for canonization had not yet been initiated or had not yet reached its conclusion. This concession, with a view to future canonization, led to the preliminary stage known as beatification, in which a holy man or woman is declared a “Blessed.”

The Vatican document highlights the essential differences between a canonization and beatification: Continue reading A Blessed Affair