The pope has declared ten church figures, including Charles de Foucault, ‘saints’

The pope has declared ten church figures, including Charles de Foucault, ‘saints’

Pope Francis on Sunday proclaimed ten “saints” of the Catholic Church, including desert hermit Charles de Foucault, in front of some 45,000 worshipers from around the world gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

Among these ten were the French “Sainte” Marie Rivière (1768-1838) and César de Bus (1544-1607) as well as the Dutch priest and journalist Titus Brandsma, known for his commitment against Nazi propaganda during the Second World War and who was assassinated at Dachau in 1942.

Arrived by car, Pope Francis, 85, suffering from knee pain, did not show up in a wheelchair to preside over Holy Mass – the first since the pandemic – in the company of around 50 cardinals and 2,000 priests and bishops.

Early on Sunday, in summer weather, groups of pilgrims – many from France, Holland, Africa and Latin America – began to flock to the largest basilica in the world, where hung images of new “ saints”. And some pilgrims themselves wore a dress to their doll.

“Our son is called Foucault, it is a pleasure to come with the family to sanctify our patron saint. It will only happen once in a lifetime, so we are all coming,” said Marie, her 30-year-old mother from Bourg en Bryce.

“For two years we have suffered a lot locally, in our small parishes, in our parishes, at a distance, and finally (…) we can find ourselves together around the Holy Father”, rejoiced with AFP Bishop Luc Ravel of Strasbourg.

This reverence “gives a universal scope to Saint Charles de Foucault, which is to join below what he always wanted to be and what Pope Francis tells us at the end of his encyclical +fratelli totti+ (all brothers)” , he added, referring to the title of the hermit of the desert, Global Brother.

– ‘Great emotion’ –

“With the growing distances, tensions and wars in the world unfortunately, I hope these new saints will inspire ways of dialogue, especially the hearts and minds of those in positions of responsibility, called to be heroes of peace and not of war”, declared the pope at the end of the mass.

Sanctification – the last step towards “holiness” in the Catholic Church, after beatification – requires three conditions: to have been dead for at least five years, to have returned to a perfect Christian life and to perform at least two miracles.

The beatification process of Charles de Foucault, assassinated in 1916, began in Tamanrasset, south of the Algerian Sahara, in the 1930s, and was declared “blessed” by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

After recovering from cancer in 1984, the Vatican awarded him a second miracle: the extraordinary story of a young carpenter from Saumur (central France), who survived a 15-meter fall in 2016 on a bench, despite a broken stomach.

The martyr Devashyam (Lazar) Pillai (1712-1752), a Hindu convert to Christianity, was the first Indian layman to become a “saint”. He was arrested, tortured for three years and then executed after refusing to renounce his faith.

The other five are Italian priests Luigi Maria Palazzolo and Giustino Maria Rossolillo, Italian nuns Maria Domenica Mantovani and Maria de Gesu Santocanal, and Uruguayan Italian Maria Francesca Robato, who became Uruguay’s first saint.

Nancy Gomez, 46, a Colombian, said she felt “great emotion” seeing the final recognition of this nun who “has helped children and people in need”.

After the ceremony, which lasted nearly two hours, the eminent pope, smiling, made his traditional “popemobile” tour of the square, embracing, blessing and greeting the faithful gathered behind the parapets.

Martha J. Finley