Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes for a 12-year-old Italian boy who died late 1970s as well as seven other men and women, recognizing all for their “heroic virtue.” The Pope authorized the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints to declare the eight laypersons, priests, and religious — including young Silvio Dissegna — as “venerable.” The move was announced Nov. 7 during an audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, head of the cause for saints congregation. Born Jul. 1, 1967 in the Turin province of Moncalieri, Italy, Dissegna was diagnosed with bone cancer early 1978. According to the website dedicated to his cause, www.silviodissegna.org, he spent his illness in prayer, and exhibited a strong devotion to the Rosary. He also offered his sufferings up for the Pope, missionaries, the conversion of sinners, among other intentions. He died on Sep. 24, 1979 in Poirino, Italy. Also recognized as venerable was Marthe Louise Robin. A french laywoman and founder of the Foyers de Charité, Robin was a mystic and reported stigmatist. She died Feb. 6, 1981. Another French-born laywoman, Jeanne Mance was founder of the Hotel-Dieu hospital in Montréal, Canada. She died in Montréal on June 18, 1673. Pope Francis also approved the advancement of the cause to sainthood of fellow Jesuit Fr. John Sullivan, S.J. The Irish priest of the Society of Jesus died in Dublin in 1933. Others on the list of new Venerables include German priest, Fr. Pelagius Sauter; Chilean Franciscan, Francesco Massimiano Valdes Subercaseaux, O.F.M; Italian Abbot and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Reparationi fo the Holy Face of Jesus, Ildebrando Gregori; and Italian Fr. Raimondo Calcagno, of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri. The recognition of a person as “venerable” is one step in the process leading to canonization. In order to move to the next phase — beatification — there must be at least one verified miracle attributed to that person, if he or she is not a martyr. Usually, a second verified miracle is needed for a person to be declared a saint, although this requirement may be waived by the Pope.
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