December 16, 2005

Sainthood Cause of Blessed Mother Theodore Guérin moves forward

By Brandon A. Evans

Blessed Mother Theodore GuérinOnly months after passing a crucial phase of the canonization process, the Cause of Blessed Mother Theodore Guérin moved forward again at the end of November.

In June, The Criterion reported that a cure attributed to the intercession of the foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods was unanimously recognized by a five-person medical commission as a cure unexplainable by medical science.

Providence Sister Marie Kevin Tighe, the congregation’s promoter of the Cause and vice-postulator, said that on Nov. 30 the sisters at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods received word that a seven-person theological commission appointed by the Holy See’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints has approved the Cause.

“It’s feeling very much like we’re coming to the conclusion of this,” Sister Marie Kevin said.

Msgr. Frederick Easton, vicar judicial for the archdiocese, said that the commission, having reviewed not only the miracle but also all the acts of the Cause, “decided there was nothing contrary to faith or morals in the miracle and life of the Blessed.”

The vote of the commission was six in favor with one abstention.

The next step toward canonization, Msgr. Easton said, will likely be a vote taken during a “congresso,” which is “a regular meeting of the voting cardinals and bishops attached to the congregation for the Causes of Saints.”

“From what [the postulator] told me a long time ago, the congregation would then recommend the Cause to the Holy Father,” he said.

The pope may then consult with cardinals and archbishops from all over the world, and following that schedule a consistory of all the cardinals in Rome who would vote—“and then a declaration that she should be declared a saint,” Msgr. Easton said.

At that point, a liturgy of canonization during a papal Mass would be scheduled, in the midst of which the pope would make a formal declaration.

The only thing that Msgr. Easton could guess at is that the congresso would likely be this February.

The news of the most recent development was exciting for the Sisters of Providence, Sister Marie Kevin said, but there is still of sense of anticipation—of waiting for final approval.

This Cause, she said, has followed a long road. It was opened by Bishop Francis Silas Chatard in 1909 and, she said, continued on past two world wars, the Great Depression and the Second Vatican Council.

It is only in the last decade, she said, that the Cause has really picked up speed.

The postulator for the Cause must be a citizen of Rome, and often in the past, the priest who was assigned to the Cause was moved outside of Rome, which delayed the process while another was found.

The current postulator, a layman, is Andrea Ambrosi.

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