Wednesday, December 19, 2007

6- year-old on Way to Sainthood

Pope Approves Decree of Heroic Virtue

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2007 ( A 6-year-old Italian girl who cheerfully endured the amputation of her leg and offered it in union with the sacrifices of Christ might someday become the youngest canonized non-martyr saint.

Benedict XVI approved Monday the decree recognizing the heroic virtue of Antonietta Meo, who died of bone cancer. Along with the recognition of Meo's virtue, the Pope approved six decrees recognizing miracles, and seven other decrees affirming lives of heroic virtue.

Born in 1930, Antonietta was diagnosed with bone cancer at age 5 after a fall caused by a knee injury would not heal.

The girl formed the habit of leaving a letter at the foot of a crucifix every night. At first, she dictated these notes to her mother; later she wrote them herself. The more than 100 letters and her diary reveal an intense mysticism and a surprising level of theological reflection, albeit hidden in simple phrases.

"Dear Jesus," one of the letters says, "I love you very much. I want to abandon myself in your hands [...] I want to abandon myself in your arms. Do with me what you want. [...] Help me with your grace. You help me, since without your grace, I can do nothing."

Her letters were written to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. In a letter to Mary from Sept. 18, 1936, she said, "Dear little Virgin, you who are very good, take my heart and bring it to Jesus."

Antonietta died July 3, 1937, five months before her 7th birthday.

In 1981, the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes removed the norm restricting "heroic virtue" only to those who had lived a "period of maturity." The change in the norm permitted the visionaries of Fatima, Jacinta and Francisco, to be beatified in 2000.

Holiness from a wheelchair

Benedict XVI also approved the decree of heroic virtue attributed to Manuel Lozano Garrido, a Spanish journalist who spent 28 years in a wheelchair.

Lozano Garrido (1920-1971) entered the Catholic Action group at age 11. During the Spanish civil war, he distributed holy Communion to the imprisoned.

His long illness began in 1942 and just one year afterward, he began to need a wheelchair. Twenty years later, nearly 10 years before his death, he lost his sight.

From his wheelchair, with progressive paralysis affecting more and more of his body, he became a recognized writer and journalist. His professional life led to many publications, including reports for the Associated Press and nine books on spirituality. When his right hand became paralyzed, he learned to write with his left. When that hand, too, lost movement, he would dictate his words.


Besides the decrees pertaining to Antonietta and Lozano Garrido, Benedict XVI authorized the publication of decrees of miracles obtained through the intercession of the following Servants of God:

-- Michael Spocko, Polish priest (1888-1975).

-- James Ghazir Haddad (born Khalil), Lebanese professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins and founder of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of the Cross in Lebanon (1875-1954).
-- Maria Maddalena dell'Incarnazione Sordini (born Caterina), Italian founder of the Order of Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (died 1824).

-- Jeanne Emilie de Villeneuve, French foundress of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (1811-1854).
-- Vincenza Maria Poloni (born Luigia), Italian foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Verona (1802-1855).
-- Maria Giuseppina di Gesu Crocefisso Catanea (born Giuseppina), Italian professed nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites (1896-1948).

The Pope also approved decrees of heroic virtue for the following Servants of God:

-- Francesco Mottola, Italian priest and founder of the Secular Institute of the Oblates of the Sacred Heart (1901-1969).
-- Serafino Morazzone, Italian priest (1747-1822).
-- Raphael Louis Rafiringa, Madagascan professed religious of the Institute of Brothers of Christian Schools (1856-1919).

-- Stephen Nehme (born Joseph), Lebanese professed religious of the Order of Maronites (1889-1938).
-- Anna Maria Marovich, Italian member of the Sisters of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary Immaculate (1815-1887).
-- Maria Piera De Micheli (born Giuseppa Maria), Italian professed sister of the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception of Buenos Aires (1890-1945).

1 comment:

swissmiss said...

Very interesting and inspiring. It sometimes amazes me that children can be the wisest and most virtuous and have such a sense of the divine. But, many saints have said we need to be like children to grow closer to God.