By CNS | Published May 27, 2004
Published: May 27, 2004
VATICAN CITY (CNS)—Pope John Paul II canonized six people during a May 16 Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Following are short profiles of the new saints.
– St. Gianna Beretta Molla was born in Magenta, Italy, in 1922. While in high school and in medical school, she was involved with Catholic Action and with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, assisting the elderly and the poor.
After completing her degree in medicine and surgery, she worked briefly at a medical clinic before enrolling at the University of Milan for specialized courses in pediatrics.
In 1955, she married Pietro Molla and 14 months later gave birth to a son. Two daughters soon followed.
She was pregnant for the fourth time in 1961 when a uterine tumor was discovered, but she refused any treatment that would endanger the life of the fetus she was carrying even though she knew her own life was at risk. In April 1962, she gave birth to a daughter, Gianna Emmanuela, and died a week later at the age of 39.
– St. Nimatullah Kassab al-Hardini, a Maronite monk, was born in 1808 in Hardine, Lebanon. He entered St. Anthony’s Monastery in Kfifan in 1828.
According to the biography published by the Vatican, during his novitiate “he dedicated every moment available to him, even time meant for rest, to visiting the Blessed Sacrament. He could be found in church, on his knees with his arms raised in the form of the cross and with his eyes fixed on the tabernacle.”
Ordained to the priesthood in 1833, he continued his humble work binding books while also teaching theology and serving as director of students and as assistant general of the order.
He died in 1858 at the age of 50.
– St. Josep Manyanet Vives was born in 1833 in Tremp, Spain, and was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Urgell in 1859.
Convinced that the strength of the family would lead to the strength of the community, St. Manyanet promoted devotion of the Holy Family. With his bishop’s permission, he founded the Sons of the Holy Family in 1864 and, 10 years later, the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
He was the driving force behind building a church in Barcelona dedicated to the Holy Family; Antonio Gaudi, whose own sainthood cause is under way, was chosen as the architect. Although begun in 1882, the church is still under construction.
The priest died in 1901.
– St. Luigi Orione, founder of the Sons of Divine Providence and the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity, was born in Pontecurone, Italy, in 1872.
Even before he was ordained to the priesthood in 1895 for the Diocese of Tortona, he had founded a boarding school for poor boys. Other seminarians and priests worked with him, educating and caring for the poor, and they became the first members of his new order.
A confidant of popes and a missionary to Latin America, he was known as a preacher, confessor and tireless organizer of pilgrimages, parish missions and processions.
He died in 1940.
– St. Annibale Di Francia was born in Messina, Italy, in 1851. While praying before the Blessed Sacrament at the age of 17, he heard a voice commanding him, “‘Rogate’ (ask) the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”
Ordained to the priesthood in 1878, he moved to an extremely poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Messina and began his ministry there, serving the poor and promoting prayers for vocations so that other holy men and women would expand the work.
The founder of the Daughters of Divine Zeal and the Rogationist Fathers, he died in 1927.
– St. Paola Elisabetta Cerioli was born in 1816 near Cremona, Italy. At the age of 19, in obedience to her parents, she married a 58-year-old man. They had four children, three of whom died in infancy; the fourth died at the age of 16.
Twenty years after her wedding, her husband died, and she opened her home to the sick and needy, especially children.
She founded the men’s Congregation of the Holy Father and the Sisters of the Holy Family to care for abandoned children and to assist new parents in their task of creating holy families.
She died in 1865.