The week of 2 December to 8 December looks to be a busy one. And not just because it’s the first week of Advent.
First, Sunday 2 December sees the beatification of the Blessed Martyr Devasahayam Pillai. So far as I am aware, this is the last beatification for this calendar year.
Also 2 December, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, Jean Donovan and Maura Clarke, the women of El Salvador, three American nuns and one American laywoman martyred by Salvadoran soldiers in 1980 for love of the poor. There is no cause for their canonization of which I’m aware.
Monday 3 December, in 1815, the repose in Baltimore of John Carroll. He was America’s first Bishop and Archbishop, for what was then the United States’s only diocese, today the Archdiocese of Baltimore. I am aware of no cause for his canonization.
Tuesday 4 December, unless I have botched the dates again, is among the Orthodox the commemoration of the glorification of the New Heiromartyr S Alexander Hotovitzky. A priest and a missionary in America from 1895 to 1914, he was recalled to Russia and would be martyred by the Bolsheviks in 1937.
Wednesday 5 December, among the Breton, the anniversary of the martyrdom in 1942 in Brandenburg of Marc, born Joseph-Marie, Guihaire. Born in Brittany, he was a Dominican priest. During the Occupation he joined the Resistance. He wrote articles for a clandestine journal, particularly about the incompatibility of Nazism and Christianity, and he helped forge papers to save Jews. He was denounced and transported to Germany, where he was beheaded. I am not aware of a cause for his canonization.
Thursday 6 December, the anniversary of the repose in 2004 in New York of the Servant of God Fernando Rielo Pardal. A layman and founder of the Idente Missionaries of Christ the Redeemer, he was a poet and metaphysician. He seems not to be well known in the English-speaking community, and most of his work has still not been translated from his native Spanish. His cause is in its early stages.
Friday 7 December, the memorial of the martyrdom in 1647 on or near St Mark’s Island, Florida, of three Franciscan priests, whose very names have been lost to us. Killed along with Claudio Luis Florencia and about nine members of his family in the aftermath of an Appalachee revolt. I am not aware of any open cause for their canonization.
Saturday 8 December is a very full day, but the most important commemoration by far is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. (This is the Feast celebrating the conception without sin of the Blessed Virgin.) Even before this feast had been raised to recognition among the Universal Church the Bishops of the United States had asked and been granted official recognition by Rome of her as the Patroness of our country.
Also 8 December, the repose in the Bronx in 1984 of the Servant of God Walter Ciszek. A Jesuit from Pennsylvania, he was ordained an Eastern Rite priest and sent into the former Soviet Union to minister to Catholics behind the Iron Curtain. Fifteen of those years were in prison. He was eventually repatriated as part of a prisoner swap in 1963. His cause is in Rome.
Also 8 December, the death in 2001 in New Mexico of possible Martyr of Charity Michael Mack. A Dominican, he was killed in what was probably a robbery gone bad. He was living at the time of his death in a community that, among other things, treated child molesters. His killer, knowing this, slandered the memory of Fr Mack by claiming he had killed the priest fighting off an attempted rape. His killer couldn’t know that Fr Mack had originally come to that community to treat his struggles with alcoholism, but when he was killed was concluding a period of discernment in which he had decided to commit his life to the Servants of the Paraclete helping treat people suffering from addiction. I am aware of no cause for his canonization.
Also 8 December, the repose in 1887 of Boniface Wimmer. A Bavarian Benedictine, he founded the first Benedictine monastery in America, about forty miles out of Pittsburgh. He founded many, many parishes, abbeys, and schools. According to legend, he can be seen haunting one of the schools he founded, here in Pennsylvania, but I don’t have the book with the name of the school to hand just now. So far as I know there is no cause for his canonization open.
Finally, 8 December is the anniversary of the repose in 1986 in Philadelphia of Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, known as Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. A Tamil mystic, he is the only Sufi saint of whom I am aware associated with the United States. He also has the only mazar in America of which I am aware, which is a Sufi grave and pilgrimage site, the kind of thing the Salafi in northern Mali are tearing down.
And that finishes it up for the first week in Advent.
Mary, the Immaculate Conception, ora pro nobis.
All the saints, ora pro nobis.
All the martyrs, ora pro nobis.