By ZENIT Staff

Pope Francis on Wednesday advanced the causes for the canonization of twelve holy men and women, authorizing the publication of decrees recognizing various miracles, as well as the martyrdom of an Italian missionary in El Salvador and a group of Cistercian monks in Italy, reported Vatican News.

The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints recognized miracles attributed to the intercession of Venerable Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus; and to Venerable Pauline-Marie Jaricot, foundress of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and the Living Rosary Association. The way is now cleared for the two to be beatified.

See Zenit feature on Father McGivney.

Miracles were also attributed to three Blesseds: Charles de Foucauld, Cesare de Bus, and Maria Domenica Mantovani. The official acceptance of the miracles means that all three can now be canonized.

The Congregation also determined that Franciscan priest Cosma Spessotto was killed in odium fidei, that is, out of hatred of the faith. Father Cosma was a missionary in El Salvador who was martyred in 1980.

Finally, the Congregation recognized the martyrdom of six Cistercian monks who were killed as they tried to safeguard the Eucharist when their abbey was attacked by French soldiers during the Napoleonic wars.

The decrees on martyrdom will allow the causes of Father Cosma and the Cistercian monks to proceed.

Blessed Cesare de Bus was distinguished by works of charity and zeal in preaching and catechizing. He founded the “Secular Priests of Christian Doctrine” devoted to preaching Christian doctrine. He also founded an order of women, the Daughters of Christian Doctrine, which died out in the 17th century.

Blessed Charles de Foucauld was an officer in the French army. He became a Trappist monk but left the order to live as a hermit. He was ordained to the priesthood in France, then settled in the Algerian Sahara. He evangelized the Bergers, learning their language and culture. De Foucauld was assassinated at his hermitage in 1916.

Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani was the co-founder, with her spiritual director Fr Giuseppe Nascimbeni, of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family, dedicated to educating children and young women, and assisting the sick and elderly of the community. She became the first superior of the order, taking the name “Maria Giuseppina of the Immaculata”.

Venerable Michael McGivney was the founder of the Knights of Columbus, now the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization. After studies in Canada and the United States, he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop James Gibbons in Baltimore. He founded the Knights of Columbus as a mutual aid society, geared especially to working men and their families. He was known for his tireless work among his parishioners. He died at the early age of 38 from pneumonia.

Venerable Pauline-Marie Jaricot was devoted to assisting the work of missionaries, encouraging all Catholics to involve themselves in the work of spreading the Gospel. She founded the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, dedicated to helping missionary efforts worldwide; and the Living Rosary Association, whose associates are committed to saying a decade of the Rosary each day. In 1835 she was healed of a serious illness after visiting the shrine of Saint Philomena in Italy.

The Servant of God Simeon Cardon was the prior of the Cistercian abbey in Casamari, Italy. During the Napoleonic wars, French soldiers sacked the abbey, breaking into the Church and scattering consecrated Hosts on the floor. When the Servant of God, with five fellow monks, attempted to retrieve the Hosts, they were shot by the soldiers and killed.

The Servant of God Cosma Spessotto joined the Franciscans in 1940 and was ordained eight years later. Filled with zeal for missionary work, he went to El Salvador in 1950, at the time one of the poorest nations in the Americas. He preached peace amidst the violence in the country. He was killed in 1980 as he knelt in prayer in his church. He is remembered for his love of the poor and his witness to fraternity.

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