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Pope proclaims sainthood of venerated Dominican laywoman

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Pope Francis issued a decree declaring the sainthood of Blessed Margaret of Città di Castello, a much-loved Italian Dominican laywoman.

The decree is what the Vatican terms an "equipollent" or equivalent canonization; when there is evidence of strong devotion among the faithful to a holy man or woman, the pope can waive a lengthy formal canonical investigation and can authorize the person's veneration as a saint.

The Vatican announcement April 24 said the pope declared her a saint after the cardinals and bishops who are members of the Congregation for Saints' Causes recommended doing so.

Born to noble parents around 128, St. Margaret was blind and had a severe spinal curvature. Her parents, determined to keep her out of public view, kept her in seclusion in a walled room of a parish.

Taking her to a shrine known for miraculous cures in the Umbrian town of Città di Castello, St. Margaret's parents abandoned her there when she was not healed. Helped by the townspeople, she was given shelter in various homes and eventually welcomed by Dominican nuns.

Despite the hardship and rejection she endured, St. Margaret was known for her joyful disposition and was later accepted as a lay Dominican. Since her death in 1320, hundreds of miracles have been attributed to her intercession.

Meeting with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes April 24, Pope Francis also advanced the sainthood cause of Enrique Ernesto Shaw, signing a decree recognizing the heroic virtues of the businessman from the pope's native Argentina.

Born in 1921, Shaw founded the Christian Association of Business Executives and was arrested during a wave of anti-Catholic sentiment under the administration of Argentine President Juan Peron.

After he was released, he continued advocating the application of Catholic social teaching in the workplace. He died in Buenos Aires in 1962 of cancer.

The pope also signed decrees advancing the sainthood causes of:

— Redemptorist Father Vicente Nicasio Renuncio Toribio, five other Redemptorist priests and six Redemptorist brothers who were killed "in hatred of the faith" between 1936 and 1939, during Spain's Civil War.

— Italian Cardinal Pietro Marcellino Corradini, founder of the Collegine Sisters of the Holy Family. He was born in 1658 and died in 1743.

— Emanuele Stablum, an Italian physician and member of the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception. He was born in 1895 and died in 1950.

— María de los Desamparados Portilla Crespo, a wife and mother of 11 children, who was born in Valencia, Spain, in 1925 and died in Madrid in 1996.

— Anfrosina Berardi, an Italian girl who was born in 1920 and died in 1933.

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© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021