In an interview published in L’Osservatore Romano, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints discussed why Pope Francis canonized St. Angela of Foligno (1248-1309) in October.
St. Angela, a
member of the Third Order of St. Francis, was beatified in 1701.
Pope Francis declared her a saint by “equivalent canonization.”
equivalent canonization – a procedure described by Pope Benedict XIV in
the eighteenth century – the Pope waives the usual judicial process and
declares that a blessed’s liturgical cult is extended to the universal
Pope Benedict canonized St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) by
equivalent canonization in 2012, and Pope Francis also canonized St.
Peter Faber by equivalent canonization in December.
“Equivalent canonization, though not frequent, is not rare in the
Church,” Cardinal Angelo Amato had said in a December interview. “The
best known are Gregory VII, Gertrude of Helfta, Peter Damian, Cyril and
Methodius, John Damascene, the Venerable Bede, Albert the Great, Thomas
More, John of Avila.”
In a new interview, Cardinal Angelo Amato said that St. Francis de
Sales, St. Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori, Pope Benedict XIV, Bishop
Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet all held St. Angela of Foligno in high esteem.
In the 1940s, various French bishops petitioned for her canonization.
In 1983, Cardinal Amato continued, Blessed John Paul II used her
writings as meditations during the Via Crucis in the Colosseum on Good
Friday, and in 1993, he called her “teacher of theologians” during a
homily. Later that day, as he prayed before her relics, he continued to
praise her – prompting a petition for her canonization from her
In 2010, Pope Benedict devoted a general audience to Blessed Angela of
Foligno, renewing interest in her. During the audience, he referred to
her as a saint – a reference that is clearer in the original Italian
(“la vita di santa Angela”) than in the official English translation
(“Blessed Angela’s life”).
Following Pope Benedict’s equivalent canonization of St. Hildegard in
May 2012, the superiors of five Franciscan communities petitioned him to
canonized St. Angela. In December 2012, Pope Benedict authorized the
preparation of the necessary documentation.