Pope moves queen, Italian laywoman closer to sainthood

Vatican City, May 3, 2013 / 12:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has approved miracles attributed to a Sicilian queen and a 20th-century Italian laywoman, placing them one step closer to sainthood.

As groups of lay people devoted to saints from Italy, Spain, France and England converge on Rome for a Year of Faith event this weekend, the Pope advanced four causes for sainthood.

Queen Maria Cristina of Savoy, who married King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, is one of the two women who had miracles recognized by Pope Francis.

She was known for being shy but also a dedicated advocate for the poor and those condemned to death. She died in 1836, nine days after giving birth to Francis.

Maria Bolognesi, the other woman for whom a miracle was approved, was an Italian mystic who was known as the “silent woman of charity.” Besides receiving visions, she also opened a convalescent home and lived a life of poverty close to the poor.

Pope Francis also recognized a Spanish priest and a Polish nun as having lived lives of “heroic virtue.”

Father Joaquim Rossello Ferra, founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and Mother Janina Kierocinska, who founded the Carmelite Sisters of the Infant Jesus, can both now be referred to as “venerable.”

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