An amazing woman who habitually calmed angry mobs, opened hospitals and schools and even challenged Billy the Kid has just had her canonization Cause approved by US bishops.
Sister Blandina Segale, an Italian-born nun who moved to the American Southwest in the 19th-Century, was an amazing woman who clashed with Old West outlaws and worked beside immigrants.
Her story is so amazing most would assume it was a work of fiction.
How could a woman stand so strong in a time of such lawlessness?
Sister Segale did everything with the help of the Lord.
Four Causes were presented individually to the US bishops: Sister Blandina Segale, Julia Greeley, a former slave from CO, Fr. Patrick Ryan, who ministered to those with yellow fever, and Msgr. Bernard Quinn, who battled bigotry and established a black church and orphanage in Brooklyn, NY.
When Sister Segale was presented, she was described as a defender of the defenseless: the poor, sick, marginalized, Native Americans and immigrants from Mexico and Italy.
She was involved in important issues such as juvenile delinquency and human trafficking, often paid visits to jails and refused to stand down.
Her Cause was introduced by Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
To present a Cause, the candidate must have died at least five years prior and the bishop of the diocese or eparchy in which the person passed is responsible for the initial step.
They must examine his or her life and name a postulator to conduct a formal investigation.
The local bishop must consult other bishops in the region for advice toward the pursuance of the Cause.
The process does not end there – a canonical consultation with the body of bishops is next, followed by the gathering of materials and documentation of evidence to support the Cause.
The materials are then sent to the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, where three very important steps are taken.
First, there is a declaration of the person’s heroic virtues, followed by a declaration from the Church to title the candidate “Venerable.”
Beatification is second, when the person is called “Blessed.”
The final step is the canonization – the declaration of Sainthood.
By Kenya Sinclair