Tomorrow is the feast of Saint Marie of the Incarnation. Yes——SAINT! It was March 11 here in Backlit With Joy when we shared “A New Ursuline Saint” and the news that Pope Francis would soon canonize her. We Ursulines have been as surprised as anyone at how quickly it has happened.
On the 3rd of this month, the Holy Father, Francis, quietly signed the decree declaring Mary of the Incarnation a saint. She was canonized with Bishop François de Montmorency-Laval, the first bishop of Quebec, and Jesuit José de Anchieta, one of the first missionaries in Brazil. These three new saints are considered the founders of the Church in the New World.
This was called an equivalent canonization. The Pope confirmed a devotion that already existed. There was no big ceremony in St. Peter’s in Rome because nothing new was introduced. The sanctity of these saints and popular devotion to them were simply recognized. This type of canonization is only used when the Blessed has already been venerated for years. It is not usual, but also not completely rare. Pope Benedict XVI used it to canonize Hildegard of Bingen; Pope Francis used it to canonize Angela of Foligno and Peter Fabre.
So here’s a call to all who share the charism of St. Angela Merici and the spirit of the Gospel. Celebrate St. Marie of the Incarnation! Read about her life, courage, and world-wide spirit. Pray to her as you strive to bring the Good News of Jesus, the Risen Jesus, to the people of our day. Rejoice on her feastday tomorrow.
Sr. Jean and I are considering a summer 2015 Missionary Pilgrimage bus tour to Marie of the Incarnation’s home in Quebec and to places of other courageous women saints. Let us know if you might be interested!