Catholic saints canonized on May 15, 2022

ST Maria Domenica Mantovani

Born on 12 November 1862 in Castelletto di Brenzone, Italy, Maria Domenica Mantovani was the first of Giovanni and Prudenza Zamperini’s four children. She grew up in this small farming village and attended elementary school up to the third grade. Her intelligence, strong will and good sense made up for her incomplete education. She learned a healthy, balanced piety from her parents and at an early age was drawn to prayer and to helping others.

In 1877, when Maria Domenica was 15 years old, Fr Giuseppe Nascimbeni arrived in Castelletto as curate of the parish. As Maria’s spiritual director he encouraged the young girl to play an active role in the parish by visiting the sick and teaching catechism. Fr Nascimbeni, who desired to enter into the lives of the townspeople to lead them to God, found Maria Domenica to be a zealous “collaborator”. Her life of prayer and her love of God and others continued to expand under the care and direction of this austere, holy priest (beatified 17 April 1988).

On 8 December 1886, before a statue of Mary Immaculate, Maria made a private vow of perpetual virginity. She felt that God was calling her to be consecrated to Him. This profound love for the Virgin Mary was characteristic of Maria Domenica, who allowed herself to be guided by Mary and to follow Our Lady’s motherly example in caring for souls.

In 1892, Fr Nascimbeni founded the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family with four women, to promote parish life and any activity that would help the spiritual and material well-being of people in need. Maria Domenica assisted him in the foundation and was made Cofoundress and Superior General. She was given the name “Mother Maria of the Immaculate”, and to the sisters and townspeople she was simply known as “Mother”.

She was faithful in assimilating and putting into practice the formation she had received from Fr Nascimbeni during the “preparatory years”, carefully passing it on to the sisters and novices who were entrusted to her care. Mother Maria’s life of prayer was exemplary; she was noted for her complete trust in Mary Immaculate and always sought guidance for the direction of the congregation and the direction of the souls of her “daughters” at Our Lady’s feet.

Mother Maria felt her own “littleness” in front of the greatness of what God was calling her to do, especially since she, after Fr Nascimbeni, became a reference point and a model for the townspeople who came to her for counsel and comfort. With deep faith, however, she would say: “The Holy Family, for the great and mysterious project [that God is calling it to], has chosen me as its Cofoundress…, knowing that the Lord uses the least qualified, little, unknown instruments to do great works…. I am tranquil and convinced that the Institute, the work of God, will be provided for and guided by Him”.

The sisters were put under the direct care of Mother Maria in their spiritual and apostolic formation. Their charism was one of service to the poor and needy of the villages, achieved through the religious instruction of parishioners, assisting the sick and elderly in ther homes and working with children in nursery schools.

Mother Maria constantly transmitted to all around her a feeling of great peace and was known for her goodness, humility, and also firmness when needed. In 1922 Fr Nascimbeni died, and Mother Maria continued to guide the growing religious family with constancy, simplicity and dedication. She herself died on 2 February 1934 in Castelletto di Brenzone.

Today the Little Sisters of the Holy Family can be found in Italy, Switzerland, Albania, Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. They are dedicated to serving children and youth, families, priests, the elderly and the disabled in parishes.

Catholic saints canonized on May 15, 2022

St Maria of Jesus Santocanale

Carolina Concetta Angela Santocanale was born on 2 October 1852 in Palermo to nobles from the house of Celsa Raele; she was baptized on 3 October. She received her First Communion at the age of eight.

At the age of nineteen she was called to the bedside of her ailing grandfather who died a short while following their encounter. As a result of the encounter she met Mauro Venuti who soon became Santocanale’s spiritual director. She soon became the target of marriage offers but she felt a strong call to religious life in which she was torn between the contemplative cloister and working with the poor and the sick. It was at the age of 21 that she agreed to become the President of the Daughters of Mary in the parish of San Antonio in Palermo.

Santocanale contracted a disease during this period and endured sixteen months of severe pain but managed to stave off the disease in 1887. Due to being torn between the contemplative and the active religious life she hoped to combine the two together and decided to join the Secular Franciscan Order – the promotion of the order in 1887 from Pope Leo XIII inspired her to turn towards the order. On 13 June 1887 she received the Franciscan habit as a professed member of the Secular Franciscan Order; she assumed the new name of “Maria di Gesù”.

She travelled across Palermo from door to door giving alms to the poor and to the sick to whom she devoted her life and work to; she became recognized for her backpack of supplies. She decided also to establish a branch of the Franciscans in order to do this and thus established the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculata of Lourdes on 8 December 1909. The congregation was approved on 24 January 1923 as an Institute of Consecrated Life of Diocesan Right on a diocesan level from the Archbishop of Palermo Alessandro Lualdi.

Santocanale died in the week following the approval of her order in 1923. Her funeral was celebrated on the following 29 January and her remains were later moved to the church of her institute on 24 October 1926. Pope Pius XII recognized her congregation in 1947 as an Institute of Pontifical Right and Pope Paul VI issued a decree of praise for the order in 1968.

The beatification process commenced on 2 April 1982 under Pope John Paul II with the declaration of the title Servant of God being conferred upon her and the commencement of a diocesan process.

Upon the completion of the tribunal’s work the Congregation for the Causes of Saints validated the process on 19 September 1991. The postulation compiled the Positio on Santocanale’s life and works and submitted it to Rome in 1992 for further inspection.

John Paul II approved her life of heroic virtue and on 1 July 2000 proclaimed her to be Venerable.

The miracle required for her beatification was investigated and was validated in 2005; Pope Francis approved the findings in regards to the miracle on 14 December 2015 which allowed for the beatification of Santocanale to take place; it was celebrated in Monreale on 12 June 2016 and Cardinal Angelo Amato presided on the pope’s behalf.

Pope Francis canonized Santocanale on 15 May 2022.

Catholic saints canonized on May 15, 2022


Anne-Marie Rivier was born on December 19, 1768, in the village of Montpezat-sous-Bauzon in the mountains of southern France. When she was only 16 months old, little Marinette (as she was known to her family) had a terrible accident. Falling off a high bed, she fractured her hip and ankle. Crippled and unable to walk, she used her hands to drag herself around on her back.

Every day, Marinette’s mother brought her poor crippled child to church. Every day for four years, she prayed before a statue of the Pietà – one sorrowing mother to another. And every day, the little child lying on the mat learned from this simple yet powerful witness of her mother’s faith and grew herself in devotion to our Blessed Mother, entrusting herself to her care. And she made a promise that if she were ever to be cured, she would devote herself to the education of children.

On September 8, 1774, the feast of Mary’s Nativity, little Marie unexpectedly found she could walk, and she received a second, further healing three years later on August 15, 1777, the feast of Our Lady’s Assumption.

Marie Rivier lived during a time of great turmoil. In 1789, social and economic pressures erupted in the French Revolution. No one was unaffected by the changes which swept across the country, including a systematic campaign to remove the Catholic Church and Christianity itself from every part of French existence. At the time it began, Marie was running a school in her hometown, having been rejected by a nearby convent due to her poor physical health.During a time of anti-religious sentiment and persecution, including the expulsion of religious congregations from the country, Marie became a rock in the midst of the storm, leading secret prayer services when there was no priest to say Mass and continuing to catechize the local community.

When the authorities confiscated the school building in 1794, Marie moved her school to the nearby village of Thueyts, where on November 21, 1796, she and four other women dedicated themselves to God and became the first Sisters of the Presentation of Mary (the feast of Mary’s presentation in the Temple being celebrated on November 21).It is a great testament to the courage and faith of this woman that she would found a new religious order in such an unwelcoming time and place. And a testament, too, to the strength of her witness of faith that so many women followed her. Just a year later, when the first members made their religious profession, they had already more than doubled in number.

St. Marie Rivier would be a good patron for catechists who work in hostile anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, or anti-religious environments. Whether they risk their jobs, their status, or even their lives for the sake of bringing Christ to others, they can find in the boldness and zeal of the Woman-Apostle an inspiration and a friend.

Catholic saints canonized on May 15, 2022

Saint Devasahayam

Devasahayam Pillai, who was born a Hindu in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu and converted to Christianity in the 18th century, became the first Indian layman to be declared a saint by the Vatican on Sunday.

Devasahayam was born on April 23, 1712 in Nattalam village in Kanyakumari district, and went on to serve in the court of Marthanda Varma of Travancore. After meeting a Dutch naval commander at the court, Devasahayam was baptised in 1745, and assumed the name ‘Lazarus’, meaning ‘God is my help’.

“His conversion did not go well with the heads of his native religion. False charges of treason and espionage were brought against him and he was divested of his post in the royal administration,” the Vatican said in a note in February 2020. According to the Vatican, “while preaching, he particularly insisted on the equality of all people, despite caste differences”, which “aroused the hatred of the higher classes, and he was arrested in 1749”.

On January 14, 1752, Devasahayam was shot dead in the Aralvaimozhy forest. He is widely considered a martyr, and his mortal remains were interred inside what is now Saint Francis Xavier’s Cathedral in Kottar, Nagercoil.

In 2004, the diocese of Kottar along with Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council and Conference of Catholic Bishops of India recommended Devasahayam for beatification. He was declared blessed by the Kottar diocese in 2012, 300 years after his birth.

During the midday ‘Angelus’ prayer in the Vatican that day, Pope Benedict XVI described Devasahayam as a “faithful layman”, and urged Christians to “join in the joy of the Church in India and pray that the new Blessed may sustain the faith of the Christians of that large and noble country”, the note from the Vatican said.

In 2014, Pope Francis recognised a miracle attributed to Devasahayam, clearing the path to his canonisation. He was approved for sainthood in February 2020 for “enduring increasing hardships” after he decided to embrace Christianity, according to the Vatican, which last November announced May 15, 2022 as the date for the ceremony.

While clearing Devasahayam for sainthood in 2020, the Vatican dropped ‘Pillai’ from his name, and referred to him as “Blessed Devasahayam”.

Catholic saints canonized on May 15, 2022

Saint Titus Brandsma

Born at Bolsward (The Netherlands) in 1881, Blessed Titus Brandsma joined the Carmelite Order as a young man. Ordained priest in 1905, he obtained a doctorate in philosophy in Rome. He then taught in various schools in Holland and was named professor of philosophy and of the history of mysticism in the Catholic University of Nijmegen where he also served as Rector Magnificus. He was noted for his constant availability to everyone. He was a professional journalist, and in 1935 he was appointed ecclesiastical advisor to Catholic journalists.  In 1942, after much suffering and humiliations he was killed at Dachau. He was beatified by John Paul II on November 3rd 1985.

Catholic saints canonized on May 15, 2022

Saint Charles de Foucauld

Born into an aristocratic family in Strasbourg, France, Charles was orphaned at the age of 6, raised by his devout grandfather, rejected the Catholic faith as a teenager, and joined the French army. Inheriting a great deal of money from his grandfather, Charles went to Algeria with his regiment, but not without his mistress, Mimi.

When he declined to give her up, he was dismissed from the army. Still in Algeria when he left Mimi, Charles reenlisted in the army. Refused permission to make a scientific exploration of nearby Morocco, he resigned from the service. With the help of a Jewish rabbi, Charles disguised himself as a Jew and in 1883, began a one-year exploration that he recorded in a book that was well received.

Inspired by the Jews and Muslims whom he met, Charles resumed the practice of his Catholic faith when he returned to France in 1886. He joined a Trappist monastery in Ardeche, France, and later transferred to one in Akbes, Syria. Leaving the monastery in 1897, Charles worked as gardener and sacristan for the Poor Clare nuns in Nazareth and later in Jerusalem. In 1901, he returned to France and was ordained a priest.

Later that year Charles journeyed to Beni-Abbes, Morocco, intending to found a monastic religious community in North Africa that offered hospitality to Christians, Muslims, Jews, or people with no religion. He lived a peaceful, hidden life but attracted no companions.

A former army comrade invited him to live among the Tuareg people in Algeria. Charles learned their language enough to write a Tuareg-French and French-Tuareg dictionary, and to translate the Gospels into Tuareg. In 1905, he came to Tamanrasset, where he lived the rest of his life. A two-volume collection of Charles’ Tuareg poetry was published after his death.

In early 1909, he visited France and established an association of laypeople who pledged to live by the Gospels. His return to Tamanrasset was welcomed by the Tuareg. In 1915, Charles wrote to Louis Massignon: “The love of God, the love for one’s neighbor…All religion is found there…How to get to that point? Not in a day since it is perfection itself: it is the goal we must always aim for, which we must unceasingly try to reach and that we will only attain in heaven.”

The outbreak of World War I led to attacks on the French in Algeria. Seized in a raid by another tribe, Charles and two French soldiers coming to visit him were shot to death on December 1, 1916.

Five religious congregations, associations, and spiritual institutes—Little Brothers of Jesus, Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Little Sisters of Jesus, Little Brothers of the Gospel, and Little Sisters of the Gospel—draw inspiration from the peaceful, largely hidden, yet hospitable life that characterized Charles. He was beatified on November 13, 2005.

Saint of the Day – May 9, 2022

St John of Avila

Born in the Castile region of Spain, John was sent at the age of 14 to the University of Salamanca to study law. He later moved to Alcala, where he studied philosophy and theology before his ordination as a diocesan priest.

After John’s parents died and left him as their sole heir to a considerable fortune, he distributed his money to the poor. In 1527, he traveled to Seville, hoping to become a missionary in Mexico. The archbishop of that city persuaded him to stay and spread the faith in Andalusia. During nine years of work there, he developed a reputation as an engaging preacher, a perceptive spiritual director, and a wise confessor.

Because John was not afraid to denounce vice in high places, he was investigated by the Inquisition but was cleared in 1533. He later worked in Cordoba and then in Granada, where he organized the University of Baeza, the first of several colleges run by diocesan priests who dedicated themselves to teaching and giving spiritual direction to young people.

He was friends with Saints Francis Borgia, Ignatius of Loyola, John of God, John of the Cross, Peter of Alcantara, and Teresa of Avila. John of Avila worked closely with members of the Society of Jesus and helped their growth within Spain and its colonies. John’s mystical writings have been translated into several languages.

He was beatified in 1894, canonized in 1970, and declared a doctor of the Church on October 7, 2012. St. John of Avila’s liturgical feast is celebrated on May 10.

Saint of the Day – May 8, 2022

St. Peter of Tarantaise

Peter was born near Vienne, France in 1102 and died at Bellevaux, France in 1175. He was canonized in 1191.

At the age of 20 he entered the Cistercian Order, and convinced his family to enter along with him.  His two brothers and his father entered the religious community of Bonneveaux with him, and his sister also followed thier example and became a religious.

Ten years after he entered, Peter was sent to found a new house in the Tarantaise mountains near Geneva, Switzerland.  Here he opened a hospital which also served as a guest house for those travelling through the mountains.

He was appointed as Archbishop of Tarantaise in 1142 and wanted to decline the post and remain where he was happiest, as a Cistercian monk. He reluctantly accepted, however, because of the urging of St. Bernard and the other monks in his order, seeing their insistence as the will of God.

On his accession to the episcopacy, he reformed the diocese and set about providing education and distributing food to the poor, a tradition called the “May Bread”, which lasted until the French Revolution in 1789.  He performed many miraculous healings during that time.

It seems he was never able to banish his longing for the monastic life he left behind, and after 13 years as archbishop, he fled to a Cistercian abbey in Switzerland disguised as a lay brother and lived there for a year until he was discovered and forced by his superiors in the order to return to Tarantaise.

During the fractious rife between the anti-pope Victor and the true Pope, Alexander III, St. Peter was one of the only major voices in the Church openly supporting the claim of Pope Alexander, even against the emperor Frederick Barbarossa.

Recognizing his courage, loyalty, and holiness, Pope Alexander III thought him to be the ideal peacemaker between King Louis VII of France and Henry II of England. He died of an illness shortly after meeting and unsuccessfully trying to reconcile the two kings.

Saint of the Day – May 02

St Athanasius

Catholics honor St. Athanasius on May 2. The fourth century bishop is known as “the father of orthodoxy” for his absolute dedication to the doctrine of Christ’s divinity.

St. Athanasius was born to Christian parents living in the Egyptian city of Alexandria in 296. His parents took great care to have their son educated, and his talents came to the attention of a local priest who was later canonized as St. Alexander of Alexandria. The priest and future saint tutored Athanasius in theology, and eventually appointed him as an assistant.

Around the age of 19, Athanasius spent a formative period in the Egyptian desert as a disciple of St. Anthony in his monastic community. Returning to Alexandria, he was ordained a deacon in 319, and resumed his assistance to Alexander who had become a bishop. The Catholic Church, newly recognized by the Roman Empire, was already encountering a new series of dangers from within.

The most serious threat to the fourth-century Church came from a priest named Arius, who taught that Jesus could not have existed eternally as God prior to his historical incarnation as a man. According to Arius, Jesus was the highest of created beings, and could be considered “divine” only by analogy. Arians professed a belief in Jesus’ “divinity,” but meant only that he was God’s greatest creature.

Opponents of Arianism brought forth numerous scriptures which taught Christ’s eternal pre-existence and his identity as God. Nonetheless, many Greek-speaking Christians found it intellectually easier to believe in Jesus as a created demi-god, than to accept the mystery of a  Father-Son relationship within the Godhead. By 325, the controversy was dividing the Church and unsettling the Roman Empire.

In that year, Athanasius attended the First Ecumenical Council, held at Nicea to examine and judge Arius’ doctrine in light of apostolic tradition. It reaffirmed the Church’s perennial teaching on Christ’s full deity, and established the Nicene Creed as an authoritative statement of faith. The remainder of Athanasius’ life was a constant struggle to uphold the council’s teaching about Christ.

Near the end of St. Alexander’s life, he insisted that Athanasius succeed him as the Bishop of Alexandria. Athanasius took on the position just as the Emperor Constantine, despite having convoked the Council of Nicea, decided to relax its condemnation of Arius and his supporters. Athanasius continually refused to admit Arius to communion, however, despite the urgings of the emperor.

A number of Arians spent the next several decades attempting to manipulate bishops, emperors and Popes to move against Athanasius, particularly through the use of false accusations. Athanasius was accused of theft, murder, assault, and even of causing a famine by interfering with food shipments.

Arius became ill and died gruesomely in 336, but his heresy continued to live. Under the rule of the three emperors that followed Constantine, and particularly under the rule of the strongly Arian Constantius, Athanasius was driven into exile at least five times for insisting on the Nicene Creed as the Church’s authoritative rule of faith. 

Athanasius received the support of several Popes, and spent a portion of his exile in Rome. However, the Emperor Constantius did succeed in coercing one Pope, Liberius, into condemning Athanasius by having him kidnapped, threatened with death, and sent away from Rome for two years. The Pope eventually managed to return to Rome, where he again proclaimed Athanasius’ orthodoxy.

Constantius went so far as to send troops to attack his clergy and congregations. Neither these measures, nor direct attempts to assassinate the bishop, succeeding in silencing him. However, they frequently made it difficult for him to remain in his diocese. He enjoyed some respite after Constantius’ death in 361, but was later persecuted by Emperor Julian the Apostate, who sought to revive paganism.

In 369, Athanasius managed to convene an assembly of 90 bishops in Alexandria, for the sake of warning the Church in Africa against the continuing threat of Arianism. He died in 373, and was vindicated by a more comprehensive rejection of Arianism at the Second Ecumenical Council, held in 381 at Constantinople.

St. Gregory Nazianzen, who presided over part of that council, described St. Athanasius as “the true pillar of the church,” whose “life and conduct were the rule of bishops, and his doctrine the rule of the orthodox faith.”

Saint of the day – May 01

Saint Joseph

St. Joseph has two feast days on the liturgical calendar. The first is March 19—Joseph, the Husband of Mary. The second is May 1—Joseph, the Worker.

“Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God,” Pope John Paul II had once said.

There is very little about the life of Joseph in Scripture but still, we know that he was the chaste husband of Mary, the foster father of Jesus, a carpenter and  a man who was not wealthy. We also know that he came from the royal lineage of King David.

We can see from his actions in scripture that Joseph was a compassionate man, and obedient to the will of God. He also loved Mary and Jesus and wanted to protect and provide for them.

Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus’ public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph had probably died before Jesus entered public ministry.

Joseph is the patron of many things, including the universal Church, fathers, the dying and social justice.