Carlos Acutis and the founder of the Missionaries of the Consolata will be saints

Carlos Acutis and the founder of the Missionaries of the Consolata will be saints
Carlos Acutis and the founder of the Missionaries of the Consolata will be saints

In audience with Cardinal Semeraro, Francis approved the decrees that lead to the canonization of the young man buried in Assisi and Father José Allamano. A group of Franciscans martyred in Damascus in 1860 will also be canonized, while a missionary of the Precious Blood and two martyrs of communism will be beatified.

Alessandro De Carolis – Vatican City

His story is known to many. Very young, a talent from the early days of the Internet along with a big heart towards anyone, even as a child and especially towards his contemporaries, whom he helps as much as he can. A precocious adolescent of intelligence and soul, as he befits someone who was born original but will not die being a photocopy. In 2006, at the age of 15, Carlos Acutis had already opened the way for what it means to have faith, love the Church and the poor, and traffic his creativity on the Internet to leave a message – with his exposition on Eucharistic miracles – that It is not consumed by getting lost like so many algorithms. In October a fulminant leukemia takes him away, but not what he built. Pope Francis beatifies him in 2020 in Assisi, where he now rests in the Sanctuary of the Spoliation, the goal of endless pilgrimages.

A letter for a life

And it is here that the extraordinary story of the miracle that will lead to Charles’ canonization begins. Among the many pilgrims who come to the tomb, on July 8, 2022, a Friday, there is also a woman, Liliana, from Costa Rica. She kneels, prays and leaves a letter, words of hope that surround a mother’s worst anguish. Six days before, on July 2, her daughter fell off her bicycle at night when she was returning home, in the center of Florence, where the girl has been studying since 2018. The news coming from the Careggi hospital is one of the that go bankrupt. Very severe head trauma, craniotomy operation, removal of the right occipital bone to relieve pressure, almost zero hope for survival.

That July 2, Liliana’s secretary begins to pray to Blessed Carlos Acutis and on the 8th Liliana herself heads to Assisi. That same day, the hospital reports: Valeria has spontaneously resumed breathing, the next day she begins to move again and partially speaks. From then on it is one of those cases in which medical protocols take a backseat. On July 18, the CT scan shows that the hemorrhage has disappeared and on August 11 the girl is transferred to rehabilitation therapy, but after only one week it is clear that complete recovery is one step away. And on September 2, mother and daughter return to Assisi, to Charles’ tomb, to give infinite thanks.

Jungle drama

There is a somewhat not very different story that will lead to the canonization of the Piedmontese blessed José Allamano, who lived between 1851 and 1926. As a young man, José grew up among the Salesians, at the age of 22 he was a priest with the dream of going on a mission , but his health was not ironclad and he had to take care of other things. At 29 he was sent to direct the largest Marian shrine in Turin, dedicated to Our Lady Consolata. He restored it to its former splendor and the dream of the missions was transformed into a great work, the Istituto Missioni Consolata, which he founded in 1901 and, at the request of Pius X, also established a female branch with the Missionary Sisters of the Consolata. John Paul II beatified him in 1990.

On February 7, 1996, a female jaguar pounced on Sorino Yanomami, an Indian from the Amazon rainforest. The blow tore off part of his skull and for eight hours the man was left without adequate medical care, until a plane took him to the Boa Vista hospital. The scene for the doctors is terrible, the indigenous man is operated on and then admitted to intensive care. Next to him, in addition to his wife, are six nuns from the Consolata, a priest and a missionary brother, also from the Consolata. They all invoke blessed Allamano and place one of his relics next to Sorino’s bed. That day the blessed novena began and the religious recited it to ask their founder to heal the man. Sorino woke up ten days after the operation with no neurological problems. On March 4 he was moved to a nursing home and on May 8 he returned to his village completely cured, resuming his life as a forest dweller.

The prayer that heals

In the Decrees signed by the Popethere is another story of miraculous healing that will lead to the beatification of the Venerable John Merlini, an Umbrian priest originally from Spoleto, where he was born in 1795, dying in Rome in 1873. In 1820 he entered the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood, to the who would serve until his death with all his energy, becoming its General Moderator in 1847. He was highly esteemed by Pius IX, who wanted him as a spiritual advisor.

The story of the miracle refers to Mr. C. Cefalo, from Benevento in 1946, hospitalized between September and October 2013 for angiodysplasia, a vascular malformation of the intestine. The clinical picture worsens, hospitalizations and blood transfusions have no effect. On January 10, 2015, he was again hospitalized in critical condition in a semi-conscious state. A niece who frequented the parish of Santa Ana de Benevento, run by the Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood, began to ask her family for the intercession of the Venerable Juan Merlini. They placed a small image of him with a relic on the patient’s bed, and starting on January 16 there was a sudden and inexplicable change for the better in his clinical evolution, which led to a rapid, complete and lasting recovery that could not be explained scientifically.

Without fear

Among the blessed of today’s decrees there is no shortage of stories of martyrdom. The first refers to a Polish priest, Estanislao Kostka Streich, born in 1902, who after his ordination served as a parish priest and distinguished himself for the dedication with which he created catechesis and prayer groups for children, young people and adults, helping workers, unemployed and families with difficulties. His pastoral action bothered the communist fringe that had settled in Luboń and that considered that Father Stanislaus’s closeness to the workers was a way for the Church to enslave the poor classes. The priest received anonymous letters full of insults and death threats, unknown persons desecrated the tabernacle and threw away the liturgical vestments, but Father Estanislao bravely endured, until on February 27, 1938, during mass, when he approached the ambo to homily, Wawrzyniec Nowak, an avowed communist, killed him by shooting him four times. Most likely, the priest was aware of Nowak’s presence and guessed his intentions, as he made the children move away from the pulpit. Captured by the crowd, the murderer is later tried and sentenced to death.

Like Maria Goretti

The other story of martyrdom concerns a Hungarian laywoman, Mary Magdalene Bódi. Born in 1921 in Szgliget, she was the daughter of agricultural workers, but considered illegitimate because her father was undocumented. Furthermore, he is a rude, alcoholic and atheist man. However, under the influence of her mother, Mary Magdalene grows in faith, receives the sacraments and puts herself at the service of children, the poor, and the neglected or abandoned elderly. She wanted to consecrate herself, but no religious institute could accept her because of the irregular situation of her parents. She then consecrates herself to Christ the King, making a private vow of perpetual chastity. In 1939 she began working in the factory and provided moral and spiritual support to the Working Girls Association. Solidarity multiplies when the Second World War breaks out. Mary Magdalene helps the elderly and mothers with small children and assists the wounded in the nearby hospital. When Soviet troops arrive at her village on March 23, 1945, a Russian soldier notices her and other women outside a shelter and orders them to follow her to a hidden part of her. The young woman knows what is going to happen to her, she follows him and at first manages to wound him with a pistol shot. She frees herself from him and leaves the shelter to tell the other women to run away from her, but the soldier climbs up to her roof and shoots her in the back, killing her.

 
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