Figures of saints atop the colonnade of St. Peter's Square. Figures of saints atop the colonnade of St. Peter's Square.  

Pope clears French nun for sainthood

Pope Francis takes 6 candidates a step closer to sainthood, including a French nun, whose canonization will be announced at a later date.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Pope Francis on Monday received in audience Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorized him to promulgate 6 decrees regarding 2 miracles and 4 heroic virtues.

Future saint Marie Rivier

One of the miracles is through the intercession of Blessed Marie Rivier of France, who will be declared a saint.

Rivier was born on 19 December 1768 in Montpezat-sous-Bauzon (France).  When she was 16 months old, she fell off her bed and broke her hip, which led to a calvary of nearly 10 years, during which she used her hands to drag herself about. The ordeal aroused a desire in her to dedicate herself to God.  In 1774, when she could move about on crutches, she had another fall which laid her low again.  But her determination and trust in God led her to full recovery in 1777.  

When she asked to be admitted to the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Pradelles, she was turned down because of her health condition. Undaunted, Rivier, then 18, obtained permission to open a school in 1786. She became a Dominican and Franciscan Tertiary, and opened a room for the unemployed young women of the parish to train them for work. She visited the sick and took care of the needy. 

When the French Revolution broke out in 1789, everything stopped. She moved to Thueyts where she gathered some young people. Despite the revolutionaries closing the religious orders, Rivier started a small community on 1 November 1796. Five years later, in 1801, the Bishop of Vienne approved her Sisters of the Presentation of Mary Congregation. In a few years, it opened 46 houses. Rivier died on 3 February 1838 in Bourg-Saint-Andéol. Saint John Paul II beatified her on 23 May 1982, and now the Church awaits her canonization.

The miracle attributed to her intercession is the healing of a newborn baby girl in 2015 in the Philippines. She was suffering from what the doctors described as “early generalized non-immunological embryo-fetal hydrops".


The other miracle recognized by the Vatican is attributed to the intercession of Italian Venerable Servant of God Maria Carola Cecchin (born Fiorina), a professed religious of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo. 

She was born on 3 April 1877 in Cittadella (Italy) and died on a ship while returning from Kenya to Italy on 13 November 1925.  She has been cleared for Beatification, after which she will be known as Blessed.

Heroic Virtues

The 4 candidates whose heroic virtues have been recognized will now onwards be regarded as Venerable Servants of God, or simply Venerable.  They are:

-  Spanish Servant of God Andrea Garrido Perales, a priest of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy. He was born on 29 November 1663 in Vallada (Spain) and died on 23 February 1728 in Xátiva (Spain);

-  Italian Servant of God Carlo Maria da Abbiategrasso (born Gaetano Antonio Vigevano), a priest of the Order of the Capuchin Friars Minor. He was born on 30 August 1825 in Abbiategrasso (Italy) and died on 21 February 1859 in Casalpusterlengo (Italy);

-  Italian Servant of God Bernardo Sartori, a priest of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus.  He was born on 20 May 1897 in Falzé di Trevignano (Italy) and died on 3 April 1983 in Ombaci (Uganda);

-  Polish Servant of God Mary Margaret of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (in the world: Ludovica Banaś), a nun of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Born on 10 April 1896 in Klecza Dolna (Poland), she died on 26 April 1966 in Nowogródek (now Belarus).

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13 December 2021, 13:56