Pope Francis on Thursday declared a priest, three religious sisters, and two laywomen as venerable servants of God, moving them each a step closer to canonization.
“Venerable” is the title given to a candidate for sainthood whose cause has not yet reached the beatification stage but whose heroic virtue has been declared by the pope. Each now needs a miracle attributed to his or her intercession to be approved by the Vatican in order to be beatified.
Here are their stories:
Father Carlo Crespi Croci (1891–1982)
Father Carlo Crespi Croci served as a priest for the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco throughout the 1900s. Born in Legnano, Italy, he died in Cuenca, Ecuador, where he evangelized the Catholic faith. He spent his time spreading the faith to young people and devoted himself to offering confession, at times spending 17 hours a day in the confessional, according to the Vatican. He was also a scientist who worked in the fields of botany and archaeology.
Mother Maria Caterina Flanagan (1892–1942)
Mother Maria Caterina Flanagan served as a religious sister for the Order of the Most Holy Saviour, also known as the Bridgettines. Born in London, she served in Stockholm, Sweden, where she was engaged in dialogue with the Lutheran community. She led a life “characterized by her total availability and sincere fidelity to God’s providence,” according to the Order of St. Bridget.
Sister Leonilde of San Giovanni Battista (1890–1945)
Sister Leonilde of San Giovanni Battista was a religious sister for the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Born in Lisignano, Italy, she spent her days teaching and serving the poor, according to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication. During the Second World War, she went without many necessities so she could donate to the poor.
Sister María do Monte Pereira (1897–1963)
Sister María do Monte Pereira, from Funchal, Portugal, served as a religious sister of the Congregation of the Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She spent her life caring for the sick.
Maria Domenica Lazzeri. Credit: Welcome Images, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Maria Domenica Lazzeri (1815–1848)
Maria Domenica Lazzeri was a lay Catholic from Capriana, Italy. In her childhood, she served the poor and suffering and cared for her sick mother. She then fell ill herself with severe anorexia that left her bedridden from age 19 until her death at the age of 33. In 1835, it is believed, she received the stigmata on her hands, her feet, and her ribcage as well as the sign of the crown of thorns on her head, which dripped blood every Friday, according to the Vatican. She reportedly lived most of the time she was bedridden without eating any food, except for the holy Eucharist.
Teresa Enríquez de Alvarado (1456–1529)
Teresa Enríquez de Alvarado was a lay Catholic and mother. Born to a noble Spanish family, she was an attendant to Queen Isabella of Castile. She is known for having donated much of her wealth to charity, caring for the sick and the poor, and educating boys who were orphaned from the plague. She worked to revive the worship and adoration of the Eucharist.