9 to 15 December 2012

The week of 9 to 15 December.  To my knowledge, there will be no beatifications.

Sunday 9 December, the second Sunday in Advent.  Also the anniversary of the repose in New York in 1979 of the Venerable Servant of God Fulton Sheen.  Bishop of Rochester and Titular Bishop of Newport, South Wales, he is best known as a media figure, a pioneer in television and radio.  He was just declared Venerable this year, but miracles have already been investigated by the dioceses; he could be beatified pretty much any time Rome gets to him on the schedule.

Monday 10 December, the repose in 1968 in Bangkok of Brother Louis, better known by his secular name, Thomas Merton.  A Trappist monk and spiritual writer, issues in his biography make his canonization unlikely, but his books remain of immense value.  His biography, The Seven Storey Mountain, has been in print for more than sixty years and sold millions of copies.

Tuesday 11 December the martyrdom in 1729 near Vicksburg, Mississippi, of Jean Souel.  A Frenchman and a Jesuit, he was a companion of Fr Paul du Poisson.  Fr Jean labored among the Yazoo people, who were relatively open to him.  Some of the Yazoo, however, had been among the Natchez during the massacre in which Fr Paul was caught up.  When they were returning to their own tribe they came across Fr Jean on the road and shot him to death.  I am not aware of a cause for his canonization.

Wednesday 12 December, of course, is the feast of the Blessed Virgin as Our Lady of Guadeloupe, Patroness of the Americas.  Her apparition to S Juan Diego happened in Mexico, but there is no more American feast than that of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, and more so every year.

Also 12 December the repose in New York in 2008 of Avery Dulles.  Like Merton, a writer and a convert and a churchman.  Fr Dulles was a Jesuit and a theologian while Br Louis was a Trappist and more a mystic, but they are both fascinating stories.  Fr Dulles, from the Presbyterian family that gave America a Secretary of State and a head of the CIA, would eventually be named a Cardinal.  (Though symbolically, as a way for Bl John Paul to acknowledge his service to the Church; he was retired by that point and too old to vote in conclave.)  I am aware of no cause for his canonization.

Thursday 13 December I have nothing.  (Well, I have something, but it is Orthodox and I’m pretty sure I have the wrong date.)

Friday 14 December, the martyrdom in 1941 in China of Robert Cairns.  Born in Scotland, he grew up in Massachusetts and joined the Maryknollers, becoming a priest.  He served at a shrine in honor of S Francis Xavier in China and served the Chinese people of the area during the Japanese invasion.  Eventually, the Japanese came to the mission and took him to their ship and threw him into the South China Sea.  They may have shot him first.  I am not aware of a cause for his canonization.

Also 14 December the martyrdom in 1997 in Katmandu of Thomas Gafney.  A Jesuit from Ohio, he worked with the crippled and the blind, bringing social work to the Himalayan kingdom.  What probably got him in trouble, though, was speaking out against the royal family and the drug trade.  One or both of those led to his still officially unsolved beheading, probably by government enforcers.  I am not aware of any cause for his canonization.

Also 14 December, among the Breton, the repose of the Servant of God Alano Maria in 1985 in Porto Nacional, Brazil.  Born Alain-Marie du Noday in 1899 in Morbihan he was a Dominican priest and Bishop.  He came to Brazil as a young priest about 1929.  In 1936 he became the second Bishop of Porto Nacional.  He served as Bishop for forty years, but even when he “retired” from that post, in his latter seventies, he didn’t retire.  He returned to the life of a parish priest.  He is renowned for his humility and his tireless service to his diocese.  His cause is in it’s early stages.

Saturday 15 December, the memorial of Blessed Mary Francis Schervier.  Born in Aachen in 1819 and dying there in 1876, I would never have known Sister Mary Francis, foundress of the Poor Sisters of Saint Francis, was an American saint at all but for Bp Gannon’s list of people “in the process,” back when America had but four saints and a beata and he was seeking more:  “Mother Frances Schervier, in 1845, at Aix-la-Chapelle, founded the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis, and made its first foundation in the United States in 1858.  Twice, Mother Frances came to the United States, the first time in 1863, and the second time in 1868.  During her first sojourn in this country she joined her sisters in ministering to wounded soldiers of the Civil War, and to the sick, the homeless, and the orphaned.  The second time, while visiting the various institutions conducted by her sisters, she also lent a helping hand in caring for the sick, the aged, and the poor.  She died at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1876.  The apostolic process for her beatification was opened in 1934 with the approval of the Holy Father.”  She was beatified in 1974.  The Archdiocese of Cincinnati sent her second miracle to the Vatican in 2010, so it is not impossible we will see her canonized soon.

Also 15 December, among the Breton, the Memorial of Blessed Yann Divotou.  Known as Jean Discalceat, or Shoeless John, he was a Franciscan priest in Quimper known for his devotion to the poor.  He has long been venerated in Brittany, where he is known as Santig Du and as a patron of the poor, but his cult wasn’t confirmed by Rome until 1989.

Blessed Virgin of Guadeloupe, ora pro nobis.

All the saints and martyrs, ora pro nobis.

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