POPE Benedict XVI canonized four new saints last June 3 at the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity in St. Peter’s Square. According to the Pope, the new saints epitomize the various forms of holiness espoused by the teachings of the Church.

“God’s wisdom is manifested in the cosmos, in the variety and beauty of its elements, but his masterpieces are the saints,” he said.

The newly canonized saints were Sister Marie Eugenie de Jesus Milleret of France, Rev. Charles of St. Andrew, baptized as John Andrew Houben, from the Netherlands, Rev. George Preca of Malta, and Rev. Simon of Lipnica from Poland.

Milleret, who founded the Religious of the Assumption order in 1839 at the age of 22, reached sainthood status after a young Filipino child was miraculously healed from severe brain damage leading to blindness upon praying to her stead.

Houben, who was born in 1821, toured around Ireland and England as a miracle worker. He was canonized after inexplicably curing a man from a painful gangrenous and perforated appendicitis.

On the other hand, Preca had a very powerful mystical experience in 1910 which he always referred to as “the extraordinary vision of the child Jesus”. After joining the Passionist order, a Roman Catholic religious group founded by St Paul of the Cross, Preca spent most of his life ministering in England and Ireland. He founded the Society of Christian Doctrine in 1932.

Comforting Poles afflicted by the epidemic that broke out in Krakow from 1482 to 1483, Lipnica, a Franciscan monk, offered his life by administering the sacraments until he died of the same illness.

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Canonization is a lengthy procedure which may take years, even centuries to realize. An expert investigates the life of a would-be saint and the report is sent to the bishop in that area for further analysis. Then, it is sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome for beatification, hence a candidate for sainthood is given the title “Blessed”. A minimum of three miracles are required to formally declare a saint, which the Church describes as an instance demonstrating the saint’s continued special relationship with God after death. Yve Camae V. Espeña with reports from the Catholic News Service

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