Pope sets date for canonization of Blessed Charles de Foucauld, Holocaust martyr, others

Pope Francis has approved the canonization of Blessed Titus Brandsma, a Dutch Carmelite martyred at the Dachau concentration camp. Blessed Brandsma, pictured in an undated photo, is scheduled to be canonized May 15 at the Vatican along with nine others. (CNS photo/courtesy Titus Brandsma Institute)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Blessed Titus Brandsma, the 20th-century martyr murdered at the Dachau concentration camp, will be canonized May 15 along with nine other candidates for sainthood, including Blessed Charles de Foucauld.

During a March 4 gathering of cardinals in Rome, Pope Francis added the names of three blesseds to the springtime date he had established in November for the canonizations of seven candidates.

The three blesseds added to the May 15 ceremony are:

  • Blessed Brandsma, a Dutch Carmelite friar who was sent to Dachau for treason after defending Jews and press freedom and was killed with a lethal injection in 1942 at the age of 61. He was beatified by St. John Paul II in 1985.

He was one of more than 2,700 clergy -- 2,400 of them Catholic priests -- who had been detained at the notorious Nazi concentration camp in Germany after urging editors of the Dutch Catholic press to violate a new law of the Third Reich and not print any Nazi propaganda.

  • Blessed Marie Rivier, a French nun who founded the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in 1796 during the time of the French Revolution when many Catholic convents were closed and religious activities were outlawed. She was born in 1768, died in 1838 and was beatified by St. John Paul in 1982.
  • Blessed Carolina Santocanale, also known as Blessed Mary of Jesus, an Italian nun born in 1852, who founded the Congregation of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate of Lourdes. She died in Palermo in 1923.

The May 15 ceremony will also include the canonizations of another seven blesseds the Vatican had announced last November. They are:

  • Blessed de Foucauld, who was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1858, and strayed from the faith during his adolescence. During a trip to Morocco, he saw how devoted Muslims were to their faith, which inspired him to return to the church. He joined the Trappists, living in monasteries in France and in Syria, before seeking an even more austere life as a hermit.

After his ordination to the priesthood in 1901, he lived among the poor and finally settled in Tamanrasset, Algeria. In 1916, he was killed by a band of marauders. His writings inspired the foundation, after his death, of the Little Brothers of Jesus and the Little Sisters of Jesus.

  • Blessed Devasahayam Pillai, an 18th-century Indian layman who converted to Catholicism from Hinduism, and who was killed in 1752 for refusing to refute his faith despite being brutally tortured.
  • Blessed César de Bus, the France-born founder of the Fathers of Christian Doctrine, a religious congregation dedicated to education, pastoral ministry and catechesis. Born in 1544, he died in 1607.
  • Blessed Luigi Maria Palazzolo, an Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Poor. He was beatified by St. John XXIII in 1963. The sainthood causes of six members of the order who died in Congo in 1995 caring for victims of Ebola also are underway.
  • Blessed Giustino Maria Russolillo, an Italian priest who founded the Society of Divine Vocations for men and the Vocationist Sisters. He was born in 1891 and died in 1955.
  • Blessed Anna Maria Rubatto, founder of the order now known as the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto. She was born in Carmagnola, Italy, in 1844 and died in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1904.
  • Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani, co-founder and first superior general of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family. Born in 1862 in Castelletto di Brenzone, Italy, she dedicated her life to serving the poor and needy as well as assisting the sick and the elderly. She died in 1934.


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