Pope Francis recognized on Monday the heroic virtue of eight persons on the path to canonization, including an Italian surgeon and father of eight who suffered from several painful diseases throughout his life.
The Pope met Feb. 27 with the prefect of the Congregation for the
Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, giving his approval for the
causes to move forward.
Among them is Italian Victor Trancanelli. Born in 1944, he studied
and became a talented surgeon before marrying his wife Lia. Together
they had one natural son and adopted seven more children over the course
of their marriage.
One month before the birth of their son, Diego, Victor developed
ulcerative colitis and widespread peritonitis, which created the need
for a permanent ileostomy. Only his wife and a few medical colleagues
were aware of the ileostomy, which he bore with patience and without
Always thinking of the sick, after a year he was healthy enough to return to his work as a surgeon.
In the 1980s, he fell in love with Holy Scripture and with the Jewish
roots of the Faith, working at the St. Martin Ecumenical Center. During
that time, Victor, his wife, and a few friends started the association
which is still running, “Alle Querce di Mamre,” to help women and
children in difficult situations.
After another serious illness, he died June 24, 1998, at the age of
54. It is said that shortly before his death he gathered his wife and
children around him, and said: “For this it is worth living.”
“Even if I had become, who knows who, if I had money in the bank,
owned many houses, what would I bring with me now? What have I brought
before God? Now I bring the love that we have given.”
Another cause moving forward is that of Fr. Titus Zeman, a priest of
the Salesian order who was born in 1915 in Bratislava, Slovakia. He
moved to Rome to study at the Pontifical Gregorian University for a
period before being ordained in 1940.
He returned to his home country, but in 1950 the Communist regime in
then-Czechoslovakia prohibited religious orders, deporting religious men
and women to concentration camps. Fr. Zeman organized for young men in
the Salesians to travel secretly to Turin, Italy to complete their
studies for the priesthood.
He was eventually captured and endured a severe trial, where they
called him a traitor and a spy of the Vatican. Narrowly missing the
death penalty, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was released
in 1964 after 12 years, enduring torture and other deprivation.
Severely weakened by the treatment during his imprisonment, he died
only five years later on Jan. 8, 1969. He is considered to have died a
martyr for the faith.
Fr. Zeman is known to have said: “Even if I lost my life, I would not
consider it wasted, knowing that at least one of those that I helped
has become a priest in my place.”
Following an increasing number of canonizations of laypeople in the
last few years, another lay person whose cause has moved forward is
Pietro Herrero Rubio, who lived 1904-1978.
The other causes are of the Bishop Ottavio Ortiz Arrieta of
Chachapoyas (1878-1958); Jesuit priest Antonio Repiso Martínez de Orbe,
founder of the Congregation of Sisters of the Divine Pastor (1856-1929);
Antonio Provolo, a diocesan priest and founder of both the Society and
the Congregation of Mary for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb
(1801-1842); Maria of Mercy Cabezas Terrero, foundress of the Religious
Institute of the Missionary Workers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
(1911-1993); and Sr. Lucia of the Immaculate (Maria Ripamonti), a member
of the Congregation of the Handmaids of Charity (1909-1954).