Pope Francis on Saturday approved the advancement in the causes for sainthood of eight men and women, including two Palestinian nuns and an 20th century Italian wife and mother. The Holy Father authorized the promulgation of the decrees for three Blesseds and five Servants of God during a Dec. 6 audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato. The promulgation declared miracles attributable to the three Blesseds, paving the way for their canonizations. Beatified under Benedict XVI in 2009, Blessed Marie-Alphonsine (1843-1927) was a Turco-British Palestinian and co-foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Jerusalem of the Latins. She was born in Palestine and spent much of her life in Bethlehem and its environs, assisting the poor and establishing schools and orphanages. A mystic and stigmatist, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified (Mariam Baouardy) was a Turkish Palestinian and professed nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites. She lived from 1846-1878, and was beatified by Saint John Paul II in 1983. Her family were of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, and in the religious life she spent time in France and India before helping to found a Carmel in Bethlehem in 1875. A miracle was also attributed to Blessed Jeanne-Emilie de Villeneuve (1811-1854), French foundress of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Castres. Pope Francis also authorized the promulgation of the heroic virtue of two Italians, two Spaniards, and a religious sister from the Czech Republic. Servant of God Carmela of Jesus, an Italian, was foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of the Incarnate Word (1858- 1948). Fellow Italian and Servant of God Elisabetta Tasca was a laywoman and mother who lived from 1899-1978. Two new servants of God from Spain are Maria Seiquer Gaya, foundress of the Apostolic Sisters of Christ Crucified (1891-1975); and Praxedes Fernandez Garcia (1886-1936), laywoman and member of the Third Order of St. Dominic. Finally, Pope Francis approved the promulgation of heroic virtue of Servant of God Adalberta Hasmandova (1914-1988). Born in the Czech Republic, she was superior general of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy of St. Charles Borromeo.
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