St John Berchmans’ Beatification

This page includes Acts of Beatification and the Beatification Proclamation by Pope Blessed Pius IX:

Acts of the Beatification:

The Servant of God having died on the 13th of August, 1621, and the fame of the numerous miracles which the Almighty operated through his intercession having daily increased, it was resolved to introduce the cause of his Beatification to the notice of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. The first to take effectual steps in the matter, was his Excellency Don Philip d’Arembergh, Duke of Arscot, one of the most religious and distinguished personages then living in Flanders. A few months after the death of John, he presented a petition to Gregory XV earnestly praying the Sovereign Pontiff that information might be taken regarding the life, virtues and miracles of the Servant of God, and at the same time, he selected as his agent and procurator at Rome, the Rev. Abbot Octavius Sacco. The memorial of the Duke was kindly received by his Holiness, and referred to Monsignor Alexander Boschi, Vicegerent of the Cardinal Vicar, who received verbal orders to draw up in due form the process of information.

There was no delay on the part of the Vicegerent in executing the command, and on the 17th of January, 1622, he commenced the Process, which begins as follows:

“On the 17th of January, in the year 1622, in presence of the most illustrious and Reverend Monsignor Alexander Boschi, by the grace of God and favor of the Apostolic See, Bishop of Serajo, and Vicegerent of the most illustrious and Reverend Cardinal Vicar of Rome, and in presence of me, the undersigned, appeared the Rev. Abbot Octavius Sacco, of Reggio, who in his own name and in the name of the most illustrious lord, Philip, Duke of Arscot, recalled to the memory of the aforesaid Most reverend Monsignor Vicegerent, that his Holiness Pope Gregory XV had referred to his illustrious lordship a memorial, previously presented to his holiness on the part of the above most excellent Duke, in which it was petitioned that information might be taken on the life, death, sanctity, miracles and other good works of John Berchmans, of pious memory, who was born in Diest, in Flanders, was a religious of the Society of Jesus, and died at Rome on the 13th of August, 1621. Therefore the aforesaid Lord Abbot Octavius Sacco in the name of the parties above-mentioned, humbly supplicates your lordship, that in consequence of the aforesaid memorial, you would order the Process to be drawn up by your ordinary authority, appointing for that purpose the one who is best qualified, giving him all the necessary faculties, and performing everything in the best possible manner,” etc.

Thirty-six witnesses of the highest authority, were summoned to give their testimony, nearly all of whom had been personally acquainted with the Servant of God, and had enjoyed familiar intercourse with him at Rome and in Flanders, viz.: three of his Confessors, Fathers Virgil Cepari, Thomas Massucci, and John

Baptist Ceccotti; two of his teachers, Fathers Francis Piccolimini and Horace Grassi; and besides these, Fathers Cornelius a Lapide, James Tirino, and nearly all his classmates.

The following year, 1623, at the request of Father Antony Sucquet, Provincial of Flanders, and of Father Walter Clerici, Rector of the College of Anversa, Monsignor John Maldero, Bishop of that city, drew up another Process of information in which were given the depositions of twenty-three other witnesses, who had known the Blessed John when a secular and a religious: and in the same Process were inserted various documents concerning certain miracles of his which had been authenticated by the municipal authorities of the district of Diest.

Those two Processes having been terminated, Father Muzius Vitelleschi, General of the Society, in the year 1625, appointed Father Virgil Cepari, postulator of the cause with ample faculties to expedite the proceedings in the Sacred Congregation of Rites. Nor could one more competent have been selected; for besides having been very much versed in this matter, as appears from the Directory which he has left in writing, he had been engaged for more than twenty-five years in promoting other causes of canonization. But passing to a better life a few years after his appointment, and other causes of importance in the meantime arising, ours for more than a century remained abandoned and neglected.

But the Venerable Servant of God took upon himself to revive the memory of his cause, by performing new and astonishing miracles at Rome and in the neighboring country. Another Process in the usual manner being formed, an abridgment of it and of the two former ones was presented to the Sacred Congregation: and in the year 1745, the Sovereign Pontiff, Benedict XIV approved with his signature the introduction of the cause, being moved thereunto by the merits of the Servant of God, and the fervent supplications directed to the Apostolic See by Augustus, King of Poland, John V, King of Portugal, Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary, Marianna of Austria, Regent of Belgium, the Cardinal of Alsace, Archbishop of Mechlin, the Bishops of Bruges, Ypres, Ghent and Anversa, the Canons of the Cathedrals, the Senate and municipal councils of Belgium, and the University of Louvain.

Afterwards, the remissorial letters, as they are called, were expedited, and the Apostolic Process in Rome was drawn up, together with two others in Ronciglione and Nepi, relating to two recent miracles, and finally one in Belgium, concerning the examination of the writings of the Servant of God. However, the lamentable political disturbances which occurred from the latter part of the past century until the return of Pius VII. to Rome, presented new obstacles to the progress of the cause. The question of his virtues having in these latter times been resumed and discussed, according to custom, in three congregations, the Sovereign Pontiff, Gregory XVI, on the 7th of June, 1843, declared him venerable, decreed that John Berchmans had practiced all virtues in a heroic degree.

While the second question, relating to his miracles, was discussed, the Cardinal Archbishop of Mechlin, with all the Bishops of Belgium, humbly petitioned the Apostolic See to expedite the cause, suggesting at the same time the spiritual advantages which would result therefrom, especially to youth. The following is their letter, translated from the original Latin.

“Most Holy Father: — The cause of the beatification of the Venerable Servant of God, John Berchmans, seeming now to be drawing to a close, I deemed it advisable to present again my supplications to the August Head of the Church, earnestly praying that the honors of the altar may be decreed by apostolic authority to this angelic youth. Such an event would be most pleasing to all. and especially to the Church of Mechlin, in which our Venerable Berchmans, dear to God and to men, passed a great portion of his most innocent life. For he was born in Diest. and was there educated up to the fourteenth year of his age. He afterwards lived two years as a secular in Mechlin, and two more as a religious in the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. This Diocese, therefore, will with great reason rejoice to see this new honor conferred upon the Servant of God, and all the inhabitants of Belgium will exult in consequence of the tender affection which they entertain for their countryman.

“Besides, the beatification for which I petition will not only be a subject of great joy and jubilation, but an occasion of the greatest utility. For it is certain that men are ordinarily more devoted to the Saints of their country, and more easily induced to imitate their example. Now, the devotion of the Belgians is more ardent, more intense towards the Venerable Berchmans. from the fact, that though we have many saints in this country, who lived, here long since, yet no Belgian has been raised to the honors of the altar in these latter times. To this we may add, that as we are now promoting in Belgium, the Christian education of youth, upon which the future prosperity of the Church in these parts depends, we cannot propose a more suitable example to our youth, than this most innocent Servant of God, who in so tender an age gave proof of so many and excellent virtues.

Finally, as the example of John whilst still living inflamed the beholders to perfection, so now the narration of his virtues to the young not only produces admiration, but wonderfully excites to imitation. Such are the fruits, which will be gathered in still greater abundance, Most Holy Father, when the Venerable Servant of God shall have been raised to the honors of the altar.

“I therefore pray your Holiness graciously to receive this my petition, by declaring Blessed as soon as possible, the Venerable John Berchmans, to the glory and utility of this our diocese of Mechlin, and of all Belgium; and prostrate at the feet of your Holiness, I humbly implore your apostolical benediction.

Mechlin, October 25, 1853.
Engelbert, Card. Archbishop of Mechlin.

“We, the undersigned, Bishops of Belgium, subscribe to the above petition of his Eminence, the Most Reverend Archbishop of Mechlin, and earnestly pray your Holiness to raise to the honors of the altar, as soon as possible, the Venerable John Berchmans, of the Society of Jesus, a native of Belgium, and, the future patron, as we trust, of youth, especially in this country.

Mechlin, feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, 1853.

“Gaspar Joseph, Bishop of Tournay;
Nicholas Joseph, Bishop of Namur;
Louis Joseph, Bishop of Ghent;
John Baptist, Bishop of Bruges;
Theodore, Bishop of Liege.”

Having according to custom, in three congregations maturely examined the nature and discussed the proofs of the proposed miracles, His Holiness, Pope Pius IX, graciously approved of them, by decreeing that the solemn beatification of the Servant of God, John Berchmans, could be proceeded with in perfect security.

We give below and Extract from the address of Holy Father, Highest I X, on the occasion of the Beatification of the Venerable John Berchmans, May 2, 1865

“It is a consolation to us to see a vast body of men devoting themselves to the instruction of youth; that use, and whose religious training lies the future of the church – and nowhere do I find more consolation than in that venerable body – one of whose brightest ornaments we have met to honor. I bless then, in a special manner, the members of the Society of Jesus; I bless those who befriend and sustain them.”

THE PROCLAMATION OF THE BEATIFICATION OF ST. JOHN BERCHMANS BY POPE BLESSED PIUS IX:

BRIEF OF BEATIFICATION OF THE
VENERABLE SERVANT OF GOD, JOHN BERCHMANS.
PIUS IX. POPE,
FOR A PERPETUAL MEMORIAL.

As youth is a kind of foundation for manhood, and as men do not, without great difficulty in after life, turn themselves from the path upon which they have travelled from their earliest years, therefore that there might be no excuse on the score of age or strength for swerving from the path of virtue, it has been arranged by the all-wise Providence of God, that there should flourish from time to time in the Church, some one youth eminent for sanctity, on whom that high eulogium might be passed: “Made perfect in a short space, he fulfilled a long time:” — who abundantly compensated for the short span of his life by the greatness of his merits, and excited others to the imitation of his virtues. Among such may be fairly numbered the Venerable John Berchmans, scholastic of the Society of Jesus, who strove so vigorously to guard his baptismal innocence unsullied, and adorned his soul with such an abundance of virtues, that he seems to have shone forth as a new star to illumine the whole Church, and more especially the Religious Order of which he was a member. He was born in the town of Diest, in Brabant, of parents not distinguished by rank or fortune; but conspicuous for religious zeal, and was by them trained to every virtue. The child, being blessed with an excellent disposition, amply repaid them

for their solicitude. For to a degree quite beyond his years, he became distinguished for the gravity of his manners: never did he give any trouble, nor seek amusement in the sports common to children; but it was his delight to be constantly in the church, and to withdraw himself from intercourse with his companions, in order to betake himself to solitude, and there turn his soul to the contemplation of divine things. He had attained his eleventh year, when he was admitted for the first time to the Holy Table, and so great was the ardor of his love, when he approached to receive the most sacred Body of Christ, that the divine fire glowed on the whole countenance of the most chaste youth. Being sent to college to study the rudiments of literature, piety no less than letters became the object of his endeavors; so that as often as his fellow students cast their eyes upon him, they were excited as by some silent monitor to the love of purity, modesty, and every kind of virtue. To bind himself more closely to the service of God, he asked and obtained his father’s consent to enroll himself among the number of the clergy. Three years afterwards, however, he heard that his father, on account of his narrow fortune, had determined to apply him to some trade, in order to have his help in obtaining the means of subsistence. News such as this was sad and afflicting for John: he began to implore his father not to withdraw him from the ecclesiastical profession which he had so eagerly embraced: he declared that he had cast aside all anxiety for temporal interests, and rested all his hopes upon Divine Providence. Having obtained his wish, he proceeded to put the finish to his literary studies, and to press on with alacrity in the path of virtue upon which he had entered; and therefore, as he saw his innocence surrounded by very many dangers, in order to place it in safety, in imitation of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, whose life he had long and deeply pondered, having weighed the matter well and implored the assistance of heaven, he determined to give himself to the Society of Jesus. And, indeed, the particular form of life followed by that Religious Order was above all others pleasing to this innocent youth, who was all on fire with love for his neighbor, because he felt certain that by embracing it an opportunity would be given him of passing to the remotest parts of the earth, to pour the light of faith upon barbarous nations. Long and earnestly had John to struggle to gain the consent of his parents, who placed their hopes and those of their family on their son, and that all the more, as they saw him endowed with such great virtue.

At length, having obtained the desired leave, he was received into the Society at Mechlin, in the seventeenth year of his age. He entered it as a haven of security and rest, and gave himself forthwith to that more perfect course of life, which all can esteem and admire, but very few take up and follow. Indeed, he shone as a most perfect model of every virtue, not only for Novices, but even for the more advanced among his brethren. Beginning with humility, which is the root of all other virtues, full of a mean opinion of himself, he performed the lowest offices with alacrity. Meek and gentle towards others, but stern and severe towards himself, he used to scourge his tender body, and took food in such small quantity, as seemed scarce sufficient for sustaining and recruiting his strength. Even the slightest rules of religious discipline he observed and guarded with the greatest care; he did not allow the smallest particle of time to pass in idleness, but spent all usefully either in reading or praying, or conversing upon spiritual things. Nothing delighted him more than to turn his heart and soul to God as to a most loving Father. In meditating upon Him, and paying his homage to Him, so great was the ardor of the love with which he burned, that his heart was too narrow to contain its noble flame. The most Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, he honored with every mark of devotion, — even from his earliest years he chose her for his heavenly Patroness, to guard for him the flower of his virginity. The two years of his novitiate being completed, he was admitted to the simple vows, which he pronounced all the more fervently, because he knew that by these vows he was to consecrate himself irrevocably to God. Then he was sent to Antwerp, and afterwards to Rome, to give himself to the study of philosophy. Nor indeed could anything have been more to his liking, than to make a stay in the City which is the chief seat and the bulwark of the Catholic Religion; where he could pay his homage to the sacred remains of the Princes of the Apostles, as also to the tombs of his Father St. Ignatius and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, in whose footsteps he was walking. And so he came to the Roman College to study philosophy, and led such a life there, that the heavenly youth Aloysius, by whose virtues that house had been ennobled, almost seemed to have returned again to life. At length, ripe for heaven, he was attacked by a sickness, which, though trifling at first, grew worse and worse, until it caused his death on the 13th of August, in the year 1621, before he had completed his twenty-third year.

Virtue so eminent and constant as his, could not fail to draw the attention of all; so that his reputation for sanctity, which had been gaining ground during his life, increased and spread all the more after the chaste youth had exchanged this mortal life for a more blessed one. Wherefore, according to custom, an account of his life and virtues was drawn up at Antwerp and at Borne, to the end that afterwards an inquiry into the heroic degree of his virtues might be instituted by authority of the Holy See. But his cause was interrupted for a long time, until it was called to life again by the report of the miracles, by which God was said to have proclaimed the sanctity of his servant. Therefore, under Pope Gregory XVI, our Predecessor, after the arrangement of such preliminaries as were necessary in a case of this kind, in the Congregation of Cardinals charged with the care of Sacred Rites, an inquiry was set on foot into the virtues for which the Venerable John had been eminent, and these our Predecessor, the same Pope Gregory XVI, with the assent of the same Congregation, on the 5th of June, in the year 1843, declared to have reached an

heroic height. Next followed an examination of the miracles, which were said to have been wrought by the Almighty through the intercession of His Venerable Servant John Berchmans. All the circumstances being weighed and considered with the greatest care by the judges, three were found to be true and indubitable miracles; and We, after imploring the help of Heaven, at length, on the 27th of February of the present pear 1865, published a decree concerning the truth of the said three miracles; and We allowed further measures to be taken, without the necessity of an examination of any other miracles.

This alone remained, to ask the Cardinals of the aforesaid Congregation, whether in their opinion it were safe to decree the honors of the Blessed to the Venerable John. Wherefore on the 8th of April of the present year, the same Congregation of Cardinals, assembled before us, after taking the votes of the Consultors, were unanimous in their opinion, that the Venerable John might be declared Blessed, with all the the usual privileges, until solemn ceremony of his canonization should be performed. We then having implored assistance from the heavenly Father of Lights, published a decree on the matter on the 2nd of May, of the current year.

Now, in order that in this degenerate age we may propose to the young, surrounded as they are by so many snares laid by perfidious men, a perfect model for their imitation; and that we may find for them in Heaven a Patron, by whose aid and under whose protection they may come forth from these snares unscathed; moved, moreover, thereunto by the prayers of the whole Society of Jesus, by the advice and with the consent of the aforesaid Congregation, of our Apostolic authority, by virtue of these letters, we grant permission that the Venerable Servant of God, John Berchmans, be called hereafter by the name of Blessed, and his relics be exposed for the public veneration of the faithful, (though they are not to be carried in public processions,) and his picture be surrounded with rays of glory. Moreover, by Our authority we allow a yearly office to be said in his honor, and a Mass of the Common of Confessors to be celebrated with proper prayers approved by Us, according to the Rubrics of the Roman Missal and Breviary. The recital of this Office and the celebration of the Mass, we allow only in Rome and, its district, in the diocese of Mechlin, and in all Churches and Religious Houses of the Society of Jesus, by all the faithful who are under obligation to recite the Canonical hours, and as for the Masses, we allow them to be celebrated by all Priests, secular as well as regular, frequenting churches in which the feast is kept. Finally we allow the solemnity of the Beatification of the

Venerable John Berchmans, to be celebrated within one year from the date of this letter, in the above-mentioned churches, with the Office and Mass of a Greater Double; which indeed we direct to be clone on a day to be fixed by the Ordinary, and after the same solemnity shall have been celebrated in the Vatican Basilica: notwithstanding all Constitutions and Apostolic Ordinations, and all decrees issued de non cultu, and all others whatsoever to the contrary. And We desire that the same credit which would be given to the signification of Our will in this letter, be also given in juridical decisions to printed copies of this, provided they be signed by the hand of the Secretary of the above-mentioned Congregation, and bear the seal of the Prefect.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, under the seal of the Fisherman, on the 9th day of the Month of May, in the year of our Lord 1865, and the 19th of Our Pontificate.

N. Card. Paracciani Clarelli.    {end of Beatification Brief}

 

The actual ceremony for beatification took place on May 28, 1865. Holy cards were issued in numerous languages and religious metals were struck and books, in gratitude for his beatification were, written. Devotion to Blessed John Berchmans renewed worldwide. People once again knew of the virtuous life of our patron, and the many miracles wrought through his intercession, especially amongst the communities of religious orders. They learned more and more about the young scholastic, desiring to be a Jesuit priest, who had died young.

The same was the case for the sisters who lived in the Sacred Heart Convent of Grand Coteau, Louisiana, such that when a novice in their convent, desirous to “wear the veil” (to become a nun) fell gravely ill, it was natural for them to turn to the newly beatified John Berchmans four miraculous intervention on her behalf.

The following account of the miracle accepted as the requisite miracle needed for canonization was written in 1888 on the occasion of the canonization of our patron, by F. X. BRADY, S.J. as the introduction to the new addition of Fr. Boero’s The Life of St. John Berchmans of the Society of Jesus.

On the 20th of September, 1866, Miss Mary Wilson arrived at the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Grand Coteau. Driven from her home in London, Canada, by her parents, who were Protestants, and who were incensed on account of her conversion, she sought a refuge as a postulant for admission among the friends of the Sacred Heart. After a month of preparation and on the eve of her reception among the novices, she was suddenly seized with a most violent sickness. Day by day her condition grew worse and worse, until finally there was no hope of recovery by natural means. The condition of the patient, on the 14th of December, the last day of the novena which had been begun in honor of St. John Berchmans, was most pitiable. For forty days she had not taken an ounce of food; she took only a little tea or coffee, and, the last eight days, she was not

able even to take this. She was expected to die at any moment. Her limbs were cold and contracted, her mouth and tongue were raw and covered with clots of black blood; with the greatest difficulty the Holy Viaticum was administered by giving her a small piece of an ordinary host. All the sisters then retired to hear Mass except the infirmarian who, seeing the patient calm, left her for a moment to attend the sick in the adjoining room.

In less than one hour after the reception of the Viaticum the patient was entirely cured, restored to health, as she said, by St. John Berchmans who appeared to her. Every symptom of the disease had passed away, and the next day she was going through the ordinary duties of community life and she would have done so on the day of her cure, but the Mother Superior thought it more prudent to make her stay abed. The two doctors who attended her attributed her cure to supernatural agency, for, they said, she was beyond the reach of natural remedies. The entire community and many visitors who had seen and known the patient attested the truth of the cure, so that its authenticity is beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Sister Mary was miraculously cured after having a vision of Berchmans. In a statement for an ecclesiastical tribunal, she described her amazing experience:

On the 19th of October I was obliged to report to the infirmary, and I did not leave it until the 15th of December, the day after the one on which God was pleased to manifest His Power and Mercy in my behalf. During all this time I was dangerously ill, vomiting blood two and three times a day, with constant fever and violent headaches the greater part of the time; and still the pain in my side continued.

I do not think I had eaten an ounce of food for about forty days. During that time I had taken nothing but a little coffee or tea, which for a week before I recovered I could no longer take. And for two weeks no medicine had been administered. The doctor said it was useless to torture me more. So, he stopped giving me any. The last two days I was unable to take even a drop of water. I endured the pangs of death. My body was drawn up with pain; my hands and feet were cramped and as cold as death. All my sickness had turned to inflammation of the stomach and throat. My tongue was raw and swollen. I was not able to speak for two days. At each attempt to utter a word, the blood would gush from my mouth.

Being unable to speak, I said in my heart: “Lord, Thou Who seest how I suffer, if it be for your honor and glory and the salvation of my soul, I ask through the intercession of Blessed Berchmans a little relief and health. Otherwise give me patience to the end. I am resigned.” Then, placing the image of Blessed Berchmans on my mouth, I said: “If it be true that you can work miracles, I wish you would do something for me. If not, I will not believe in you.”

I can say without scruple of fear of offending God: I heard a voice whisper, “Open your mouth.” I did so as well as I could. I felt someone, as if put their finger on my tongue, and immediately I was relieved. I then heard a voice say in a distinct and loud tone: “Sister, you will get the desired habit. Be faithful. Have confidence. Fear not.”

I had not yet opened my eyes. I did not know who was by my bedside. I turned round and said aloud: “But, Mother Moran, I am well!”

Then, standing by my bedside, I saw a figure, He held in his hands a cup, and there were some lights near him, at this beautiful sight I was afraid. I closed my eyes and asked: “Is it Blessed Berchmans?” He answered:” Yes, I come by the order of God. Your sufferings are over. Fear not!” For the glory of Blessed John Berchmans, whose name be ever blessed! I deem it my duty to declare here, that from the moment of the cure I never experienced the slightest return of my former ailments. My flesh and strength returned instantaneously, I was able to follow all the exercises of community life from that moment. So that, after two months of cruel suffering and great attenuation of bodily strength from the want of food, I was in an instant restored to perfect health without a moment’s convalescence and could eat of everything indiscriminately, I who for thirty-eight days previous could not support a drop of water.

The doctor called to see me that evening, and what was his surprise to see me meet him at the door. He was so overcome that he almost fainted, and Mother, perceiving it, said: “It is you, doctor, who needs a chair!”

Her doctors later stated that he was “unable to explain the transition by any ordinary natural laws.” In 1888, Pope Leo XIII accepted Mary Wilson’s healing as the final miracle needed for the canonization of St. John Berchmans.

The thought that our country will be forevermore in prominent association with the highest honor of St. John Berchmans brings him near and makes him one of us, and will give assurance in our appeals to his intercession.

 

Sunday, January 15, 1888.

The crowning ceremony of the Sacerdotal Jubilee of Leo XIII., the closure of the official festivities—that of the solemn canonisation of ten saints—took place with the customary pomp and splendour in the new Papal chapel formed in the hall above the Atrium of the Vatican Basilica, hitherto known as the Hall of the Benediction, or La Loggia, from the central balcony whereof, on the Feasts of Holy Thursday, of Easter, and of St. Peter, the Sovereign Pontiff solemnly blessed Rome and the world, Urbi et Orbi, but which for seventeen years has not resounded to the voice of the Vicar of Christ. The chapel, 74 metres in length, 12 metres in width, and 25 metres high, has ten immense windows, five to either side, opening respectively on the square of St. Peter and on the interior of the Vatican Basilica, and can contain some three thousand persons; the entrance is from the side of the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace. At the further end of the hall, opposite the door of ingress, raised upon three steps is the Papal altar, above which is painted the Trinity amid a glory of immense rays 18 metres high interspersed with cherubs; the decorations of the ceiling, in geometric compartments, in high relief, and gilded stucco, shows among other ornamentation the emblems of the escutcheon of Leo XIII., the comet, the fleur-de-lis, the rose, and the cypress; the lateral pilasters are fluted and richly gilded, the intercolumniations, adorned in variegated marbles, have the armorial bearings of the Sovereign Pontiff. Above the chamfering of the windows are fleurons upheld by angels, in stucco, and bearing the escutcheons of the several religious orders who have contributed to the expense of the decorations, whilst seated on the curvature of the arches are angels bearing the emblems of the virtues. Festoons of flowers and fruit, upheld by cherubs, connect the pilasters, whilst round the hall, over the arches and pilasters, runs a fascia, showing in black lettering on a gold ground the inscription: “Christus dilexit Ecclesiam et seipsum tradidit pro ea ut illam sanctificaret. Mundans lavacro aqum in verbo it. Ut exhiberet ipse sibi gloriosam Ecclesiam. Quos Deus premscivit et predestinavit conformes fieri imaginis tilii sui. Ut sit ipse primogenitus in multis fratribus. Quos autem predestinavit hos et vocavit. Et quos vocavit hos et justificovit. Quos autem sanctificavit illos et glorificavit.” The immense vault, twenty-three metres in extent, is divided into five compartments; in the centre one, amid a colossal gilded glory, with silver rays, is the dove of the Holy Ghost, around which are the words, “Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terraruni.” Within the embrasures of the windows, to each side, are tribunes for the public, each of three tiers of seats, richly gilded, upheld by elegant balusters, and hung in red silk and velvet, fringed and corded in gold. Each tier has seats for fifteen persons. The Papal throne rises beside the altar, in cornu evangelii. A third of the hall is appropriated to the chapel, properly so-called, the sacred college • the hierarchy, in curia; the Papal court, etc.; the remainder of the space is for the faithful and public. The entire expense of the transformation into a permanent chapel—about 500,000 lire—is borne by the several Postulations of the Causes of the new saints; pro rata, says the Afoniteur de Rome, 40,000 lire each for the three Jesuit Saints, Claver, Berchmans, and Rodriguez, and for that of the Seven Blessed Founders of the Order of Servites. Another portion will fall to the share of the Postulations of the six Beatifications to take place on the six successive Sundays from January 22nd, inclusive; and the remainder of the outlay will be furnished by the Postulations of other Causes as they present themselves inorder, more Beatifications being probable during this Jubilee year.

The new chapel, as prepared for the solemn CANONISATION ceremony of the canonisation, bore over the CEREMONY. door of ingress this inscription, due to the pen of Father Tongiorgi, S.J.: “Leo . XIII. Pontifex Maximvs Beatis VII Conditoribvs Servorvm BMV. Tribvs E Societate Iesv Petro Claver, Sac Ioanni . Berchmans, Schol., Alfonso Rodrigvez, Sodali Adivtori Solemnes Sanctorvm Caelitvm Honores Decernit ;” whilst in the lunette of the end of the hall, within a golden aureola, was the large picture of the glorification of the new saints; the miracles wrought through their intercession, reproduced on handsome banners in the form of Arazzi, filled the intercolumniations on either side of the chapel; garlands and some two hundred chandeliers, girandoles, &c., arranged in the tasteful symmetry peculiar to Rome, completed the decorations. The ten tribunes —a cornu efiistelae, et a cornu evangelii–of the altar were appropriated respectively to the Belgian and Spanish deputations, representing the countries of the three saints of the Society of Jesus; to the deputation from Florence, the birthplace of the Seven Founders of the Servites of Mary; to Prince Falconieri, of the family of St. Alexius Falconieri’ one of their number; to the Pecci family; to the Grand Master of Malta with his suite; to the Diplomatic Corps; to the Roman Patriciate; to the personnel of the Sacred Congregation of Rites and of the Secretariat of State; to the Papal Majordomo; and to the Postulations of the new saints. Feminine Catholicity pays the tribute of a vote of thanks to those in charge, since, mil abile dictu, the fair sex had much the better share in the honours of the occasion, all being provided with comfortable seats well adapted to vision, whilst the lords of creation were crowded in a restricted standing place when not excluded from the chapel from want of space, as was the case with many duly provided with tickets of admission; the papal order at the last moment to provide places for 200 extra bishops, the Italian hierarchy having received command to attend, greatly curtailed the portion allotted to the public. As the details of the ceremony will have already reached you, I will only note the enthusiastic attention and pious satisfaction wherewith the immense auditory followed each act and phase of the devout function; the gorgeous pontifical procession, comprising, besides the Sacred College (of cardinals), over 400 bishops, prelates, and dignitaries of the Roman curia; the symbolic gifts of rite; the exquisite music of the Sistine choir; the papal homily; the ceremonial of the Mass and the canonisation proper; the Te Deum intoned by the Holy Father after he had, in a loud ringing voice, read the solemn Decree inscribing the ten candidates in the Calendar of the Saints: “Ad honorem Sanctae et Individuae Trinitatis, ad exaltationeni Fidei Catholicae, et Christianae Religionis augmentum, auctoritate Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, Beatorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, ac Nostra; matura deliberatione praehabita, et Divina ope saepius implorata, ac de Venerabilium Fratrum Nostrorum Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalium, Patriarcharum, Archiepiscoporum et Episcoporum in Urbe existentium consilio, Beatos CONFESSORES: BONFILIUM DE MONALDIS, BONAIUNCTUM MANETTI, MANETTUM ANTELLENSEM, AMIDEUM DE AMIDEIS, UGUCCIONEM DE UGUCCIONIS, SOSTENEUM DE SOSTENEIS, ALEXIUM DE FALCONERHS, PETRUM CLAVER, IOANNEM BERCHMANS ET ALFONSUM RODRIGUEZ Sanctos esse decernimus et definimus, ac Sanctorum albo adscribimus, statuentes ab Ecclesiae universali illorum memoriam quolibet anno, nempe: Beati BONFILII eiusque sociorum die XI Februarii, PETRI die IX Septembris, IOANNIS die XIII Augusti, et ALFONSI die XXX Octobris pia devotione recoil debere. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti Amen. The Archbishop of Florence, impeded by ill-health from personal attendance, sent his Vicar-General and some members of the Cathedral Chapter to represent him at the ceremony, which conferred a new and perennial glory on his Metropolitan city, the Seven Sainted Founders of the Servites of Mary, having been all patricians of the “City of Flowers.” The glory of the Feasts of Papal Rome re-echoes throughout Christendom, rendering still more pungent the irony wherewith the abstention of official Italy alone is noted in Europe. The Bien Public of Ghent thus characterises the “Rome of the Italian Government: “Missa de Requiem, sine Gloria nec Credo Cum tristi Sequentia, cum longo Ofertorio; In qua Paz non datur, Et populus sine Benedictione dimittitur.”

… On Tuesday, January 17th, the Grand PAPAL Duchess of Tuscany, with her suite, and AUDIENCES. Prince Lorenzo Corsini, of Florence, were admitted to Mass and Holy Communion in The Private Chapel of the Pope, and were later received in farewell audience by his Holiness, who during the week accorded the like honour to the Archbishop of Malines, attended by his Vicar-General, who made an offering of Peter Pence from his diocese of the extraordinary Jubilee collection, and in name of the citizens of Malines and of Diest, of a magnificent chalice, in silver gilt, an offering of gratitude for the canonisation of St. John Berchmans, who was born and dwelt in the diocese of Mechlin. Finally, his Grace presented the addresses of the Right of the Belgian Parliament, and introduced the descendants of the family of St. John Berchmans, come from Diest to be present at the canonisation of their relative and fellow townsman.

… and finally the Holy Father admitted to collective audience the Archbishop of Philadelphia, the Bishops of Buffalo and of Cheyenne, United States, the Rector of the North American College in Rome, with four other American priests, who offered Jubilee homage; later, in private audiences, the prelates above-named presented the Peter Pence and gifts from their respective dioceses…

 

The original source of the canonization ceremony, click here.

 

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