Sunday, October 15, 2006

St Theodore

At a Mass this morning in St Peter's Square, Pope Benedict will canonize Mother Theodore Guerin (1798-1856), a French-born nun who settled in Indiana, where she founded the Sisters of Providence of St Mary of the Woods.

Having clashed intensely with the local bishop -- who threatened her with excommunication and dismissed her from her vows -- an intriguing angle's being borne out in the coverage...
In that way, she is like many saints who found themselves bucking church authorities while alive, only to be acclaimed as saints after their deaths, said the Rev. Richard McBrien, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame and the author of the 2001 book "Lives of the Saints."

"So many leading figures who had tussles with their bishop or other high-ranking ecclesiastical officials were later rehabilitated. History remembers them, but not the officials who gave them a difficult time," McBrien said. "I dare say that Mother Guerin, as a soon-to-be-canonized saint, will achieve an elevated status that will forever elude the bishop who dismissed her."
...and to say what some of you are thinking, even more intriguing is the one raising the point.

Among the three others being elevated to the honors of the altar today is Rafael Guizar Valencia (1878-1938), a Mexican bishop. More to the point, Guizar's an uncle of Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ. Maciel's priestly ministry was restricted in May after a high-profile investigation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith into allegations of sexual abuse by the cleric, a favorite of John Paul II.

It's been said 'round Rome that whether "Padre Nuestro" shows today or not will be "the test" of his new status. Suffice it to say, a larger than usual crowd of non-pilgrims are planning to show, their eyes peeled for sightings.

AP/Gregorio Borgia