It was pointed out to me by one of our priests here in Liverpool that the Dominican Order has a new saint. Being a Dominican myself, I have a vested interest in his canonisation. Pope Francis declared Saint Bartolomé Fernandes of the Martyrs, Archbishop of Braga in Portugal, to be a saint on 5 July 2019.
He was made a saint by a process called equipollent canonisation. I have to admit that I had not heard of him or of this method of being raised to the altars but basically it means that a second miracle was not required. St Bartolomé, who lived in the 16th century, seemed to be an all-rounder: he took part in the Council of Trent, was a renowned preacher and took care of the poor – and astoundingly his popularity has lasted for nearly five centuries.
St Bartolomé’s canonisation made me think of how many hidden saints we have known. I am convinced my grandmother is a saint. She lived a hard life, much of it as a widow bringing up four children on her own. Her faith was everything to her, and if she couldn’t get to daily Mass she knelt down in her kitchen and prayed as if she was in church. Despite the miracle she worked with her children I doubt she will ever be canonised equipollently or otherwise.
In October Cardinal Newman (pictured) will be canonised and I am looking forward to being in Rome for what will be a great celebration for the Catholic Church in England and Wales; but I have a sneaking suspicion that he would have liked to have been canonised equipollently without all the fuss and bother.