From slave to priest: Augustus Tolton one step closer to sainthood

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From slave to priest: Augustus Tolton one step closer to sainthood

vaticannews.va

Augustus Tolton is among the eight individuals whose heroic virtues were confirmed by Pope Francis in a series of decrees promulgated by the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

The name of Augustus Tolton stands out among the list of eight decrees of heroic virtue, partly because he is the only American, but mostly because, when he was ordained in 1886, he was the first Catholic priest in the United States publicly known to be black.

BORN A SLAVE
Augustus Tolton was born into a family of slaves in Missouri, in 1854. He studied for the priesthood in Rome and was ordained at the Basilica of St John Lateran in 1886 when he was 31 years of age. He returned to the United States soon afterwards where he served the black community, mostly in Chicago.

GOOD FATHER GUS
Known for his musical talents, which included a gift for playing the accordion and a beautiful singing voice, “Good Father Gus”, as he was nicknamed, quickly became famous for the eloquence of his sermons. Contemporary local news articles refer to him specifically as being “a fluent and graceful talker”.

DIED OF HEATSTROKE
The year 1897 saw the city of Chicago experiencing an exceptional heatwave. Fr Tolton was frequently given to bouts of illness and fatigue. On 8 July, he collapsed and died of heatstroke. He was 43 years of age.

His cause for canonization was opened by the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2010. On 12 June 2019, Pope Francis officially confirmed his “heroic virtue”, putting him on the path to eventual sainthood.

POPE DECLARES HEROIC VIRTUE OF EIGHT PROSPECTIVE SAINTS

Pope Francis has received in audience Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorizes the promulgation of decrees regarding eight causes for canonization.

The decrees advance the causes of the following eight individuals on their path to eventual sainthood by declaring:

- The martyrdom of the Servants of God Pilar Gullón Yturriaga and 2 Lay Companions, killed in odium fidei (in hatred of the Faith) in Pola de Somiedo (Spain) on October 28, 1936;

- the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Augustine Tolton, Diocesan Priest; born in Brush Creek (United States of America) on April 1, 1854 and died in Chicago (United States of America) on July 9, 1897;

- the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Enzo Boschetti, Diocesan Priest; born in Costa de' Nobili (Italy) on November 19, 1929 and died in Valcamonica (Italy) on February 15, 1993;

- the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Felice Tantardini, Brother of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions; born in Introbio (Italy) on June 28, 1898 and died in Taunggy (Myanmar) on March 23, 1991;

- the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Giovanni Nadiani, a lay convert of the Congregation of the Presbyters of the Most Holy Sacrament; born in Santa Maria Nuova (Italy) on February 20, 1885 and died in Bergamo (Italy) on January 6, 1940;

- the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Rosario of the Visitation (born: Maria Beatrice Rosario Arroyo), Founder of the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Rosary; born in Molo (Philippines) on February 17, 1884 and died there June 14, 1957;

- the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Maria Paola Muzzeddu, Founder of the Society of the Daughters of the Most Pure Mother; born in Aggius (Italy) on February 26, 1913 and died there on August 12, 1971;

- the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Maria Santina Collani, professed Sister of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy; born in Isorella (Italy) on March 2, 1914 and died in Borgo d'Ale (Italy) on December 22, 1956.

With the promulgation of the decrees of martyrdom and of heroic virtue, the Servants of God are granted the title “Venerable”. The next stage in the “causes”, would be beatification, followed ultimately by canonization.

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 21:45
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