Father Damien one step closer to sainthood
A document recommending sainthood for Father Damien De Veuster, who cared for leprosy patients at Kalaupapa, Molokai, is expected to be presented to Pope Benedict XVI tomorrow for his signature.
If the Pope approves the recommendation, the next step would be to set a date for canonization, most likely in February, the Rev. Ed Popish, general treasurer of the congregation of the Sacred Hearts said by e-mail today from the order's headquarters in Rome.
He said the cardinals and bishops comprising the Congregation for the Causes of Saints signed the document, which was to have been presented Monday to the Vatican.
However, on June 17, Father Bruno Benati died of a massive heart attack. He was the postulator general or advocate for Damien's canonization for the congregation of Sacred Hearts.
Popish said a priest from Germany has agreed to go to Rome to serve as the postulator general.
Normally, dates for all canonizations are held in February, he said. "This would seem to indicate that we might have to wait until February to know the date of the canonization, even if we receive news tomorrow or Friday that the Holy Father approved the document." Two miracles are required for sainthood. Damien was "beatified" in 1995 a century after a French nun's recovery from an intestinal disease was attributed to him. An Oahu woman's spontaneous cure from cancer in 1998 was the second miracle attributed to the Sacred Hearts priest.