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Pope signs decrees advancing several sainthood causes

The tomb of Italian Precious Blood Missionary Father Giovanni Merlini is seen in the Church of St. Mary in Trivio near the Trevi Fountain in Rome in this undated photo. Pope Francis recognized the miracle needed for his beatification May 23, 2024. (CNS photo/courtesy of the Precious Blood Missionaries)

In addition to clearing the way for the canonization of Blessed Carlo Acutis, Pope Francis signed decrees in seven other sainthood causes, including that of Blessed Giuseppe Allamano, founder of the Consolata Missionaries, who also is now ready to be declared a saint.

Publishing the decrees May 23, the Vatican also said Pope Francis will soon convoke a consistory of cardinals in Rome to vote on approving the canonizations of Blessed Acutis and Blessed Allamano, as well as: eight Franciscan friars and three Maronite laymen who were martyred in Syria in 1860; Canada-born Blessed Marie-Léonie Paradis, founder of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family; and Blessed Elena Guerra, an Italian nun who founded the Oblates of the Holy Spirit.

According to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, the decree opening the way to Blessed Allamano's canonization recognized the miraculous healing of Sorino Yanomami, an Indigenous man who was attacked in the Brazilian Amazon by a female jaguar in February 1996, fracturing his skull and causing brain matter to spill out. It took more than eight hours to get him to a hospital. Once there, six Consolata sisters, a Consolata priest and a religious brother set an image of Blessed Allamano by his bedside and began to pray.

He underwent surgery and awoke 10 days later without serious neurological deficits, the dicastery said. He spent two months in a nursing home and returned to his village, resuming "his normal life as a forest-dweller while his health condition remained good and without any adverse consequences of the serious accident he suffered."

Blessed Allamano, an Italian who lived from 1851 to 1926, was the nephew of St. Giuseppe Cafasso and had as his spiritual director for four years St. John Bosco, founder of the Salesians. He founded the men's Institute of Consolata Missionaries in 1901 and the women's branch of the order in 1910.

Pope Francis also signed a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Italian Precious Blood Missionary Father Giovanni Merlini, a renowned spiritual director, who lived from 1795 to 1873. The dicastery said he was a spiritual counselor to Pope Pius IX and helped convince the pope to establish the feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is celebrated July 1.

The healing accepted as the miracle needed for Father Merlini's beatification involved a 68-year-old Italian man suffering from severe gastrointestinal bleeding, which led to anemia and then to renal failure and heart disease. His granddaughter, who attended a parish run by the Precious Blood Missionaries, began praying for Father Merlini's intercession and soon, the dicastery said, the man experienced a "rapid, complete and lasting" healing.

Pope Francis also signed decrees recognizing the martyrdom of Polish Father Stanislaw Kostka Streich, a diocesan priest killed Feb. 27, 1938, by a communist agitator as he celebrated Mass, and of Mária Magdolna Bódi, a young Hungarian laywoman shot and killed by a Russian soldier whom she had injured while struggling with him to avoid being raped March 23, 1945.

The dicastery's account of her martyrdom said the soldier saw her and a small group of women outside a shelter where they had been hiding. He "ordered her to follow him, leading her to the darkest part of the bunker. She obeyed, although aware of the soldier's ill intentions toward her. Shortly afterward a gunshot was heard coming from inside the bunker and she came out, telling the other women to flee, knowing that her assailant would soon arrive to take revenge for her refusal and the wound she had inflicted on him to defend herself and safeguard her chastity."

"In fact," the account continued, "the soldier who had tried to abuse her climbed on the roof of the bunker and shot her several times, hitting her from behind and killing her."

The formal declarations of martyrdom clear the way for the beatifications of Bódi and Father Streich.

Pope Francis also signed decrees recognizing that three candidates who are in the early part of the sainthood process lived the Christian virtues to a heroic degree. The three are: Italian Capuchin Father Guglielmo Gattiani, who lived 1914-1999; Ismael Molinero Novillo, a Spanish layman, who lived 1917 to 1938; and Enrico Medi, an Italian layman, who was born in 1911 and died in 1974.