Canonization Causes Open For Italian Mother, Religious Sister

The Vatican has announced the opening of canonization causes for two contemporary women, both of whom died in the 21st century. One, Enrica Onorante in Michisanti, was a lay woman and mother; the other, Mother Maria Bernardetta of the Immaculate, was a professed religious sister.

In an edict published in L’Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican, Onorante (“in Michisanti” denotes her husband’s surname) is described as a lay woman and mother who became known for her charitable work with developing countries.

While her life, from childhood, was marked by “a number of trials,” she was known for facing them “with trust in Divine Providence,” the edict states.

“A profound life of prayer enabled her to internalize her physical and moral suffering and spurred her to offer herself as a ‘living victim’, wholly abandoning herself to God’s will,” it adds.

Onorante became best known for her work as secretary for the Third World Help Committee of the Italian Episcopal Conference, which provided aid to various developing countries around the world.

“Discrete, attentive and always ready to welcome in order to serve, she made herself available for any task to further the mission of the Church,” the edict states. “With a truly ‘maternal’ style, she encouraged many men and women religious and priests from around the world in their pastoral work, thereby earning their esteem and affection.”

Her reputation for holiness and charity spread, and there is even an “Enrica Onorante Home” for impoverished children and their families named after her in Beira, Mozambique.

The cause for Servant of God Mother Maria Bernardetta of the Immaculate, professed sister of the religious congregation of the Poor Sisters of Saint Joseph, was also announced in an edict published in L’Osservatore Romano.

Mother Maria Bernadetta was born in Montella, Italy, a small town about 53 miles east of Naples, on October 15, 1918.

At the age of 17, she began her postulancy with the Poor Sisters of St. Joseph, an Argentinian-founded order of sisters who serve the poor in various apostolates, including schools, parishes, hospitals, missions, homes for single mothers, and nursing homes.

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