The Vatican has announced the opening of canonization causes for two contemporary women, both of whom died in the 21st century. One, Enrica Onorante in Michisanti, was a lay woman and mother; the other, Mother Maria Bernardetta of the Immaculate, was a professed religious sister.
In an edict published in L’Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican, Onorante (“in Michisanti” denotes her husband’s surname) is described as a lay woman and mother who became known for her charitable work with developing countries.
While her life, from childhood, was marked by “a number of trials,” she was known for facing them “with trust in Divine Providence,” the edict states.
“A profound life of prayer enabled her to internalize her physical and moral suffering and spurred her to offer herself as a ‘living victim’, wholly abandoning herself to God’s will,” it adds.
Onorante became best known for her work as secretary for the Third World Help Committee of the Italian Episcopal Conference, which provided aid to various developing countries around the world.
“Discrete, attentive and always ready to welcome in order to serve, she made herself available for any task to further the mission of the Church,” the edict states. “With a truly ‘maternal’ style, she encouraged many men and women religious and priests from around the world in their pastoral work, thereby earning their esteem and affection.”
Her reputation for holiness and charity spread, and there is even an “Enrica Onorante Home” for impoverished children and their families named after her in Beira, Mozambique.
The cause for Servant of God Mother Maria Bernardetta of the Immaculate, professed sister of the religious congregation of the Poor Sisters of Saint Joseph, was also announced in an edict published in L’Osservatore Romano.
Mother Maria Bernadetta was born in Montella, Italy, a small town about 53 miles east of Naples, on October 15, 1918.
At the age of 17, she began her postulancy with the Poor Sisters of St. Joseph, an Argentinian-founded order of sisters who serve the poor in various apostolates, including schools, parishes, hospitals, missions, homes for single mothers, and nursing homes.
Three years later, she professed her first vows.
“For all of her Sisters she was an example of humility, piety, diligence, goodness and abandonment to Divine Providence,” the edict stated.
She served in communities throughout the world, including in Buenos Aires, Argentina and in the state of Virginia, “making herself available to all, lending an ear to seminarians and priests, supporting them in their priestly vocation and in difficult moments.”
“She lived by showing, in everyday actions, love for priests, her Sisters, her family and the poor,” it added.
The founder of the community of sisters, Mother Camila Rolon, has also been declared Venerable by the Vatican, meaning her life has been found to be one of heroic virtue and her cause for canonization is also open. Today, the sisters have communities in Virginia, Argentina, Uruguay, Romania, Madagascar, and Italy.
In both edicts announcing the canonization causes of the women, Catholics are encouraged to contact the postulators of the causes or the diocesan tribunals with “any information which could in some way offer elements favourable or contrary to the reputation of holiness of the said Servant of God.”
The edicts also requested that any writings from either Servant of God be submitted to either the postulator of their causes or to the tribunals.
“We would point out that the term ‘writings’ indicates not only printed works, which have already been collected, but also manuscripts, diaries, letters and all other private writings of the Servant of God. Those who wish to keep the originals may present duly certified copies,” the edicts state.
Once these testimonies and writings are collected, they will be sent to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. If the congregation votes to keep the cause open, they will send a recommendation to the Holy Father, who can then issue a Decree of Heroic Virtues.
If this decree is issued, the person will then have the title of Venerable, and the cause continues. An approved miracle, through the intercession of a Venerable person, must be approved by the Vatican before one can be declared Blessed. A second miracle is needed for canonization.