Pope Benedict Advances Sainthood Causes with Jesuit Connections

Pope Benedict XVI advanced the sainthood causes of three Blesseds, all with Jesuit connections; Blessed Jacques Berthieu, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Blessed Peter Calungsod.

Before a date is set for the canonization ceremonies, there must be an “ordinary public consistory,” a formal ceremony opened and closed with prayer, during which cardinals present in Rome express their support for the pope’s decision to create new saints.

Pope Benedict recognized the miracles attributed to their intercessions, which paves the way for them to be declared saints. They are:

Blessed Jacques Berthieu, a French Jesuit priest who was martyred in Madagascar in 1896. Berthieu was a diocesan priest for nine years before he decided to enter the Society of Jesus at age 35. He was appointed to the Madagascar mission even before he finished novitiate. He died while he was accompanying refugees who were trying to avoid attacks from another tribe. His attackers stripped him of his cassock and beat him with clubs before forcing him to walk in the cold rain to the village where their chief lived. Berthieu refused to accept that man’s offer of becoming a counselor to his tribe, promising to spare his life if he would renounce his faith. Berthieu replied that he would rather die than abandon his religion. Several men attacked him with clubs; a blow to the head killed him. His attackers then dumped his body into the river from which it was never recovered.

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, known as the Lily of the Mohawks, was born to a Christian Algonquin mother and a Mohawk father in 1656 in upstate New York along the Hudson River. She was baptized by a Jesuit missionary in 1676 when she was 20, and she died in Canada four years later. In June 1980, she became the first Native American to be beatified.

Blessed Peter Calungsod, a lay Catholic from Cebu, Philippines, who accompanied Jesuit missionaries to Guam as a catechist and was martyred there in 1672 while he was in his late teens.

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