Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pope proclaims five new religious saints

Pope Benedict has proclaimed five religious as new saints and as role models for a "disoriented society," he said at a ceremony at St Peter's Square Sunday.

The Pope declared four Italians and one Portuguese saints of the Church, Zenit reports.

All of the five saints proclaimed at the Mass are religious, and all but one is a founder of a religious congregation.

Pope Benedict spoke of the lives of each one, beginning with Arcangelo Tadini (1846-1912), a priest from Brescia, Italy.

He noted the priest's work to help those suffering during the economic crisis of his time: "Archangelo Tadini spent long hours in prayer before the Eucharist, who always took into account in his ministry the totality of the human person, helping his parishioners grow humanly and spiritually.

"This holy priest, man of God, willing in all situations to be led by the Holy Spirit, was also available to take on the urgent necessities of the moment and find a solution."

The Italian priest founded the organization of the Society of Catholic Workers of Mutual Aid, built a spinning factory and a shelter for women laborers, and founded in 1900 the Congregation of the Worker Sisters of the Holy House of Nazareth.

"He did these works," said the Pontiff, "with the objective to evangelize the world of work, sharing the example of the Sacred Family of Nazareth."

Regarding Bernardo Tolomei (1272-1348), who was an abbot and founder of the Congregation of the Blessed Virgin of Monte Oliveto, Pope Benedict called him an "authentic martyr of charity." The saint died while taking care of the monks who had fallen ill to the great plague of 1348.

He reflected on the life of Nuno de Santa Maria Álvares Pereira (1360-1431), an officer in the Portuguese army and a national hero in Portugal for his success in various battles.

After the death of his wife, the saint gave away all his possessions and entered the convent of the Order of Friars of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel.

As a religious, he dedicated himself totally to the assistance of the poor, including the task of distributing food.

Benedict explained that Gertrude Comensoli (1847-1903) founded the Institute of Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament "so as to translate the charity 'contemplated' in the Eucharistic Christ into 'lived' charity, dedicating herself to her neighbor."

He then presented Caterina Volpicelli (1839-1894), Italian founder of the Institute of Handmaidens of the Sacred Heart, as one "who made an effort 'to be of Christ, so as to bring Christ' to those she encountered in Naples at the end of the 19th century, during a time of spiritual and social crisis."

The Pope noted that she taught that to be authentic educators of the faith, and to transmit "to the new generations the values of Christian culture, it's indispensible, as she liked to repeat, to liberate God from the prisons in which man had confined him to."
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