Hey, I just read this from Zenit. I've been out of it for a couple of weeks (due to the death of my brother, a minor injury, and hubby whisking me away from it all.)
Bishop Guido Conforti is a favorite of mine. The Order that he founded, Xaverian Missionaries, ministers in my parish, and I've got to know them. In fact, my very, best, favorite priest in the whole wide world, is Fr. Aniello Salicone, sx. They're whom I think of when missionaries are mentioned. I love these guys and Bl. Guido Conforti's prayer is one of my favorites:
May you focus your life in Jesus. May Jesus always be present in your thoughts and heart, in every encounter, with every person and place. In Omnibus Christus.
I am very happy that Bishop Conforti is to be canonized. This is a blessing. Deo Gratias.
Missions and Social Work
Benedict XVI will lead an Ordinary Public Consistory on Monday to vote on the canonization of three Church blesseds -- two Italians and one Spanish -- who are testimonies to the Church's social and missionary outreach.
The Pope signed a decree in December that advanced their cause toward canonization.
Blessed Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931) had wanted to follow the example of St. Francis Xavier, the Jesuit who took the message of Christ to Asia. But he was unable to travel to the mission fields for health reasons, so instead he founded the Society of St. Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions (also known as the Xaverian missionaries).
He was made Bishop of Ravenna at the young age of 37 and became Archbishop of Parma in 1907, where he stayed for almost 25 years. As bishop, he also continued to guide the society he founded, and in 1912 had the joy of consecrating one of his missionaries, Father Luigi Calza, as Bishop of Cheng-Chow.
Blessed Conforti travelled to China in 1928, but was taken ill after his trip and died, after a long illness, in 1931. John Paul II beatified him on March 17, 1995.
Don Luigi Guanella (1842-1915), was a priest who founded two congregations, both of which helped the marginalized during the industrial revolution: the Servants of Charity and the Institute of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. A great friend of Don Bosco, he wanted to join the Salesians, but instead was recalled to the diocese by the Bishop of Como.
For years, he was subject to misunderstanding, persecution and other obstacles but a turning point came when he was when he sent to the parish of Pianello where he met five religious prepared to undertake any service in Italy and abroad. This later gave rise to the two congregations he founded.
His apostolate to the poor made him a friend of Pope Saint Pius X who offered him much assistance. Blessed Guanella left a large legacy in Rome including the home of St. Pius X on the Janiculum hill where the Guanellian nuns care for elderly and disabled, the "St. Joseph" house on Via Aurelia Antica, and the parish of St. Joseph Cottolengo -- all of them visited by Pope John Paul II. He died Oct. 24, 1915, and Pope Paul VI beatified him on Oct. 25, 1964.
Lastly, the Pope will canonize Blessed Bonifacia Rodríguez de Castro (1837-1905), a nun from Salamanca in Spain who worked for the social advancement of women workers. She founded the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and created the "Nazareth workshop" to help poor or unemployed women.
Like many founders of religious institutes, Mother Bonifacia faced strong hostility and at one point was excluded from her own congregation, after which she founded the workshop, which she managed almost until her death in 1905.
The Vatican is expected to reveal the date of the three blesseds' canonizations after the consistory on Feb. 21.