Pope approves beatification of two martyred Albanian priests

During an audience granted on June 20, Thursday to the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis authorizes the promulgation of decrees concerning the martyrdom of Albanian Fr Luigi Palic, OFM, and Fr Gjon Gazulli; and on the heroic virtues of three religious (one priest and two sisters), and one lay woman.

Jun 29, 2024

Fr Luigj Paliq, OFM


By Christopher Wells

Pope Francis on June 20 advanced the causes for canonisation of two martyred Albanian priests, as well as that of three religious — a priest and two nuns – and a Spanish laywoman.

At an audience granted to the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, the Holy Father approved the decree of martyrdom for Fr Luigj Paliq, a Franciscan priest who was arrested, tortured, and murdered by Montenegrin soldiers in 1913 for opposing the persecution of the local population and attempts at forced conversions to orthodoxy.

Fr Gjon Gazulli was killed “in hatred of the faith” in 1927 on the basis of false accusations. He was falsely accused and hanged because his activities were considered an obstacle to the government’s attempts at forceable religious unity among the population.

The Pope also recognised the “heroic virtues” of four others.

Known as the “friar of hospitality” Isaia Columbro, born Nicola Antonio Maria in 1908, distinguished himself by the welcome he extended to those seeking spiritual and material consolation. He was particularly close to the people of Irpinia following a devasting earthquake in 1980. He died in 2004.

Maria Costanza Zauli was born in Faenza, Italy, in 1886; at the age of 19, she entered the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart in Bologna. During a long period of illnesses that left her bedridden for many years, she resolved to found a new contemplative order dedicated to continuous Adoration, the Congregation of the Adorers Handmaids of the Blessed Sacrament. She died in 1954.

Ascensión Sacramento Sánchez Sánchez, the seventh of ten children, was born in Spain in 1911. After reading the life of St Therese of the Child Jesus, she dedicated herself to the work of evangelisation, becoming involved in Catholic Action. She later became associated with Fr Doroteo Hernández Vera, the founder of the Cruzada Evangélica Secular Institute. After taking perpetual vows, she died of typhoid fever in 1946 at the age of 35. The heroic nature of her viture was recognised in her “apostolate of forgiveness” undertaken especially in the generous welcome and service she offered to women and need, in the prudent leadership of the work entrusted to her, and in her Christian patience during the illness that led to her death.

Finally, Vincenza Guilarte Alonso was educated in the convent of the Daughters of Jesus of Burgos, a congregation devoted especially to the education of youth. In 1909, at the age of 30, she was sent along with five sisters to establish a community in Brazil. She devoted herself with love to the local people, teaching in the public school. She served as porter and sacristan for the religious community, roles she accepted with humility and fulfilled until her premature death in 1960. --Vatican News

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