I have no doubt that my mom was now in heaven right after her death. My mother is a very religious woman. Although she was regularly busy, waking up at early dawn to start preparing snacks she would sell in school canteens and public market, she still find time to pray her rosary and managed to meditate privately while doing her duty to help raise our family and to make sure that all of her five children could finish college and become professionals. With my father’s help, yes she did. With determination and great trust in God, as well as persistence in pursuing this goal of making us become professional and productive citizens despite poverty, she overcame all obstacles in life and accomplished her mission in life.
I have no doubt I am blessed with a saintly mother. She a very approachable person despite being very busy with her work. Since childhood, I have not known any person harboring ill-will against her. She is always forgiving. She always eager to help people in need if she can. My mom is a silent worker and a very amiable person. She is a Marian devotee, especially to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of our St. Peter and Paul Church in Loboc, Bohol. She is also a devotee to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Since childhood, she always led us in praying the rosary at home and encouraging us her children to lead in praying the mysteries. My mom may look an ordinary Catholic and an ordinary woman, but for me who often accompanied her in work, she is a saint doing her ordinary duty of raising her own family!
Informally, my mother is, no doubt, already a saint. But formally, she might not be recognized by the Holy See. It would take years to bring her cause to the Sacred Congregation for the Saints, a committee of the Roman Curia, the central government of the Catholic Church that assists the Pope in managing the Catholic Church, and get noticed by the bureaucracy of the Church. The process of being a saint in the Church is tedious, expensive, and time-consuming. It is usually the founders or members of the religious congregations and orders, or members of the clergy, who are usually noticed by the Sacred Congregation. Canonizing lay people as saints in the Church requires a double effort, a strong social and political connections in the hierarchy, and institutional resources to finish the long process of sainthood.
The Catholic Church canonizes Catholics who live a life of holiness or who die for the Christian faith as martyrs. It usually requires an organization or institution to bring the cause of sainthood to the Roman Curia. There are 4 major steps before a Catholic who died to be recognized by the Catholic Church as a saint. The website Catholicdoors.com summarizes the following steps:
“First Step: When the subject arises that a person should be considered for Sainthood, a Bishop is placed in charge of the initial investigation of the person’s life. If it is determined that the candidate is deemed worthy of further consideration, the Vatican grants a “Nihil Obstat.” This is a Latin phrase that means “nothing hinders.” Henceforth, the candidate is called a “Servant of God.”
Second Step: The Church Official, a Postulator, who coordinates the process and serves as an advocate, must prove that the candidate lived heroic virtues. This is achieved through the collection of documents and testimonies that are collected and presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. When a candidate is approved, he/she earns the title of “Venerable.”
Third Step: To be beatified and recognized as a “Blessed,” one miracle acquired through the candidate’s intercession is required in addition to recognition of heroic virtue (or martyrdom in the case of a martyr).
Fourth Step: Canonization requires a second miracle after beatification, though a Pope may waive these requirements. (A miracle is not required prior to a martyr’s beatification, but one is required before his/her canonization.) Once this second miracle has been received through the candidate’s intercession, the Pope declares the person a “Saint” (Source:www.catholicdoors.com/faq/qu221.htm).
Can my mom be officially recognized by the Catholic Church?
Well, nothing is impossible in the eyes of God. Maybe not. But the thought that God has given us a saintly mother is enough consolation for us her children, that we actually encounter a saint in our lifetime and in the person of our own mother at that! This grace of having a saintly mother is more than cards and celebrations people usually do for mother’s day. Thank you, Lord, and to our Lady of the Guadalupe, for giving Nanay Aday as our super mom!
Photo credit (except the photo by the author): Pexels.com free photos
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