Saturday, October 12, 2019

Newman and the Four Women to be Canonized

Yesterday I mentioned that four women will be canonized with Newman tomorrow at St. Peter's Basilica--or that Newman will be canonized with four women--and The Catholic Herald, in the midst of its celebration of Newman, does offer background on these saints, three religious and one laywoman:

Pope Francis will canonize four women alongside John Henry Newman this Sunday. These women – a stigmatist, a mystic, a Roman orphan, and Nobel Peace prize nominee – also proclaimed Christ through their lives and their miracles in a unique way.

In its profile of Mother Mariam Thresia of India, founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family , the Herald offers this quotation:

“Our main charisma is family apostolate. We have schools, hospitals and counseling centers etc. But our main focus is the family apostolate. Making the families like a Holy Family of Nazareth,” Sister Dr. Vinaya of the Congregation of the Holy Family said.

Having just read Newman's homily on the Feast of the Holy Rosary and its connection with the Holy Family, I can see how he and Mother Mariam have this in common.

The Swiss Marguerite Bays was a laywoman serving her parish community and handing on the faith--Newman would praise her for that:

This 19th century Swiss laywoman and stigmatist, who dedicated her life to prayer and service to her parish community without marrying or entering a religious community. As a Third Order Franciscan, she lived a simple life as a dressmaker and carried out a lay apostolate as a catechist.

Newman would have similarly lauded both Mother Giuseppina Vannini and Sister Dulce Lopes for their service to the poor and suffering.

But what connections would the women have found with Newman and his life and works? Since two of the sisters founded religious orders, they would have shared the common concerns involved in that process. Newman's own service to the poor in Littlemore and Birmingham is a common bond. His support for the Catholic laity and his desire that we know our faith certainly connects Marguerite Bays's good works in her parish.

Of course, what the five share is their love for God and their love for their neighbor, fulfilling Jesus's greatest commandments.

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