Missing the Miracles

Missing the Miracles?
By Scott Carter

Recently I have been getting an increasing number of questions from people wondering how strict the requirement for miracles is in regard to the canonization of saints.  When talking to them, they seem to have a suspicion that for some reason Father Kapaun has been singled out for unnecessary requirements.  (I picture a cartoon with Saint Peter saying to Father Kapaun, “Please stand over here, Sir,” while with his other hand he vigorously waves all sorts of other people through the pearly gates without even a cursory glance.)  I assure you this isn’t the case!

In reality, I can understand why people might think this, and it stems from two things.  First, Pope Francis has recently canonized two saints without the requirement of a second miracle (John XXIII and Peter Faber).  However, both of these were special cases and previously had one miracle approved for their Beatification.  The Church takes very seriously her requirement for miracles before declaring definitively that someone is in heaven with God.  That’s because while we can examine a person’s life to the best of our abilities, only the Lord sees the heart and truly knows the holiness of a man or woman (cf. 1 Samuel 16:7).  Although a miracle is granted primarily for the sake of the person it blesses, it also acts like a supernatural stamp of approval from God that the intercessor is indeed in heaven with Him.

The second reason for all the questions is simple: we don’t hear about other miracles very often, and this perplexes me.  As a Church, what better way to encourage one another than to share stories of the way He continues to work in the world?  I for one would be happy to have some good news on the Internet or TV for a change!  The fact is, the stories are out there, they just don’t tend to make the headlines as much.

I was recently blessed attend the Canonization Mass of the Church’s seven newest saints in Rome.  A Canonization is a beautiful ceremony that begins with the Veni Creator Spiritus, a beautiful hymn to the Holy Spirit asking His wisdom and guidance before the Holy Father makes an infallible declaration that a person is definitively in heaven.  My favorite part of the whole Mass, other than witnessing one of my own spiritual friends be Canonized (Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity), was seeing the joy in the faces of people from all over the world who came to the Canonization.  The joy truly was the work of the Holy Spirit, as is the whole sainthood process- beginning with the holiness of the individual while he or she is alive to the spread of devotion to them after their death, all the way to the final act of Canonization and beyond.

The Holy Spirit was at work to have these seven saints Canonized, and we can be sure that the Holy Spirit will bring about Father Kapaun’s Canonization in due time as well.  In reality, the process has been going very well.  Although documents were sent to Rome over a few years ago, it took those years to compile the Positio on Father Kapaun’s life.  The necessary people in the Congregation for Saints were really only able to start reviewing the Positio this past summer.  Work will likely continue in 2017, and only once he is declared to have lived a life of heroic virtue will the miracle for his Beatification can be reviewed.  After that a new miracle would have to take place before Father Kapaun’s Canonization, but that’s just so the Church is absolutely sure of her proclamations.  Yes, it takes time, but he’s certainly not the only one to go through this process.  In the meantime, we have the privilege of being a part of his Canonization process through our prayers and sharing his story.  More importantly, we also have his friendship and assistance to be able to imitate his holiness.  It does us no good to have a saint named if we ourselves do not do our best to be holy as well!

Finally, for all of you who were wondering, below is a list of the seven saints canonized on October 16th and some info on the miracles attributed to them.  I also included the miracles that were required for Saint Teresa of Calcutta and Saint John Paul II, probably the two most popular saints of our time who still needed miracles to be canonized.  Rest assured that when you hear a new saint is named, that there is at least one miracle attributed to their intercession!


·         Saint Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero, an Argentine known as the “Cowboy Priest” who traveled by mule across Argentina to minister to his people: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/824418/argentines-swear-by-miracles-of-new-cowboy-saint

·         Saint Ludovico Pavoni, founder of the Congregation of the Sons of Mary Immaculate, who ran a trade school for impoverished boys: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lodovico_Pavoni#Second_miracle

·         Saint Jose Sanchez del Rio, teen martyr from the Cristero Wars in Mexico: http://aleteia.org/2016/01/30/mexican-martyrs-miracle-helped-save-girl-from-his-hometown/

·         Saint Solomon Leclerq, Christian Brother who was martyred during the French Revolution: http://www.delasalle.org.au/blog/blessed-solomon-to-be-canonised-in-october

·         Saint Manuel Gonzalez Garcia, Spanish Bishop with a great love for our Eucharistic Lord, known as the “Apostle of the Abandoned Tabernacles”: http://beatomanuel.weebly.com/news-blog/the-miracle-that-enable-the-canonization-of-bl-manuel

·         Saint Alfonso Maria Fusco, Italian priest and founder of the Sisters of Saint John the Baptist who sought to evangelize and educate adolescents, especially the poor or abandoned: http://blog.silive.com/inside_out_column/2016/11/st_john_villa.html

·         Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, a French Carmelite who lived died when she was 26 and who felt her mission in heaven would be to draw souls into prayer: http://www.thereseoflisieux.org/my-blog-about-st-therese/2016/6/21/the-miracle-that-made-elizabeth-of-the-trinity-a-canonized-s.html

·         Saint John Paul II: http://www.jp2shrine.org/jp/en/media/process_canonization.html

·         Saint Teresa of Calcutta: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/the-miracles-that-made-mother-teresa

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