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Pope advances sainthood causes for 17 women

Pontiff recognizes religious sisters killed during Spanish Civil War
Pope advances sainthood causes for 17 women

Pope Francis waves from the window of the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican upon arriving for his weekly Angelus prayer on Jan. 13. (Photo by Vincenzo Pinto/AFP)

Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service
January 16, 2019
Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of three women and recognized the martyrdom of 14 religious sisters killed during the Spanish Civil War, during an address in mid-January.

The pope formally recognized a miracle needed for the canonization of Blessed Marguerite Bays, a laywoman from Switzerland known for her spirituality in the face of great physical suffering and for bearing the stigmata of Christ.

Born in 1815, she grew up helping peasant farmers in her small village and became a professed member of the Secular Franciscan Order.

She was particularly devoted to Our Lady and discovered she was cured of colon cancer on Dec. 8, 1854, when Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

That same year, she started to show signs of the stigmata on her hands, feet and chest.

She died in 1879 and Pope St. John Paul II beatified her in 1995.

In another decree signed at the Vatican on Jan. 15, the pope recognized the martyrdom of Sister Isabella Lacaba Andia, known as Mother Mary del Carmen — mother superior of a community of Franciscan Conceptionist nuns — and 13 of her companions.

They were murdered "in hatred of the faith" in Spain in 1936. The move clears the way for their beatification.

Pope Francis also recognized the heroic virtues of Mother Soledad Sanjurjo Santos of the Servants of Mary.

Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico in 1892, she was known as the "Pearl of the Antilles" as she served as provincial superior of the Antilles and extended the congregation's work in caring for the sick throughout Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. She died in 1973.

The pontiff also recognized the heroic virtues of Polish Sister Anna Kaworek, who lived 1872-1936 and co-founded the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Michael the Archangel.

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