Tuesday, February 10, 2009

British nun's cause to be opened

Briefing. The Bridgettines have houses in England: see here.

From CFNews: A British nun who helped to hide Italian Jews from the Nazis in wartime Rome has been put forward as a candidate for sainthood.

Mother Ricarda Beauchamp Hambrough played a vital role in saving the lives of more than 60 Jews by smuggling them into her convent. Her order, the Bridgettines, founded in the 14th century, has now sought permission from the Vatican to examine her life and writings for evidence of 'heroic virtue', the first step to beatification and, ultimately, canonisation. She could join three other British women being considered by Rome for sainthood.

Ricarda's case is in its earliest stages and requires evidence of two miracles. Yet with successful progress, it could make her the first British female saint since 1970, when Pope Paul VI canonised three women among martyrs who died in the Protestant Reformation.

Ricarda was born Madaleina Catherine in London in September 1887 and was received into the Church in Brighton at the age of four after her parents' conversion to the faith. Little is known about her childhood, but as a young woman she was influenced by Father Benedict Williamson, a Benedictine monk, and in 1912, aged 24, she travelled to Rome to become a nun. With the Bridgettines she took the religious name 'Ricarda' and was soon chosen as the assistant to Blessed Mary Elizabeth, the abbess.

During the second world war, on hearing that the Germans were exterminating Jews, Pope Pius XII secretly ordered the religious houses of Rome to shelter them from persecution, according to Vatican records. A spokeswoman for the Bridgettines confirmed yesterday that Ricarda was central to the hiding of refugees, including Italian Jews, communists and Poles: 'We helped many during the war and Mother Ricarda helped Mother Elizabeth to hide them.' [TimesOnline]

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen