On Friday, Pope Benedict met with officials for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for the fortieth anniversary of that dicastery. The decrees for 21 Causes for sainthood were put forward. These include Mary MacKillop, the foundress who will become Australia's first Saint; Mary Ward, English foundress of the Congregation of Jesus; Blessed Andre Bessette, a Canadian lay brother, Pope Pius XII; Pope John Paul II and Fr Jerzy Popieluszko a Polish priest who was murdered by the Communist government in 1984, for preaching to workers in the Solidarity movement.
In his address, Pope Benedict said: "Saints are not representatives of the past; rather, they form part of the present and future of the Church and society. ... The lives of these extraordinary believers, who come from every region of the earth", are characterised by "their relationship with the Lord, ... and by an intense dialogue with Him". The lives of the saints likewise reveal "a continuous search for evangelical perfection, the rejection of mediocrity and a tendency towards total adherence to Christ".
"The principal stages in the Church's recognition of sanctity - beatification and canonisation - are united by a coherent bond. ... The gradual approach to the 'fullness of light' emerges in a unique way in the passage" from one stage to the other, said the Pope.
The passage from beatification to canonisation "involves events of great religious and cultural significance, in which invocation in the liturgy, popular devotion, imitation of virtues, historical and theological study, and attention to the 'signs from on high' come together and mutually enrich one another. ... The truth is that the witness of the saints highlights ever new aspects of the evangelical message, and makes them known".
He said "..in the process of recognising saintliness there emerges a spiritual and pastoral richness which involves the entire Christian community. Sanctity - in other words, the transfiguration of people and of human reality in the image of the risen Christ - represents
the final goal in the plan of divine salvation".
The full list follows:
- Blessed Stanislao Soltys, called Kazimierczyk, Polish professed religious of the Order of Canons Regular Lateranense (1433-1489).
- Blessed Andre Bessette (ne Alfred), Canadian professed religious of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (1845-1937).
- Blessed Mary of the Cross MacKillop (nee Mary Helen), Australian foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart (1842-1909).
- Blessed Giulia Salzano, Italian foundress of the Congregation of Sisters Catechists of the Sacred Heart (1846-1929).
- Blessed Battista da Varano (nee Camilla), professed nun of the Order of Poor Clares and foundress of the monastery of St. Clare in the Italian town of Camerino (1458-1524).
- Venerable Servant of God Giuseppe Tous y Soler, Spanish professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins and founder of the Capuchin sisters of the Mother of the Divine Shepherd (1811-1871).
- Venerable Servant of God Leopoldo Sanchez Marquez de Alpandeire (ne Francesco), Spanish professed layman of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins (1864-1956).
- Venerable Servant of God Manuel Lozano Garrido, Spanish lay person, (1920-1971).
- Venerable Servant of God Teresa Manganiello, Italian laywoman of the Third Order of St. Francis (1849-1876).
- Venerable Servant of God Chiara Badano, young Italian lay woman (1971-1990).
- Servant of God Jerzy Popieluszko, Polish diocesan priest (1947-1984).
- Blessed Giacomo Illirico da Bitetto, professed layman of the Order of Friars Minor (circa 1400-1496).
- Servant of God Pope Pius XII (ne Eugenio Pacelli), Supreme Pontiff, born in Rome 2 March 1976, died at Castelgandolfo 9 October 1958.
- Servant of God Pope John Paul II (ne Karol Wojtyla), Supreme Pontiff, born at Wadowice, Poland 18 May 1920, died in Rome 2 April 2005.
- Servant of God Louis Brisson, French priest and founder of the Oblates of St Francis of Sales (1817-1908).
- Servant of God Giuseppe Quadrio, Italian professed priest of the Salesian Society of St John Bosco (1921-1963).
- Servant of God Mary Ward (nee Joan), English foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, today called the Congregation of Jesus (1585-1645).
- Servant of God Antonia Maria Verna, Italian foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (1773-1838).
- Servant of God Maria Chiara Serafina Farolfi (nee Francesca), Italian foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (1853-1917).
- Servant of God Enrica Alfieri (nee Maria Angela), Italian professed nun of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St Jeanne-Antide Thouret (1891-1951).
- Servant of God Giunio Tinarelli, Italian layman of the "Pia Unione Primaria Silenziosi Operai della Croce" (1912-1956).