Sainthood Cause of American Priest Among Those Advanced by Pope

Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz, who died of ALS after years of service to the poor and needy in Asia, named ‘Venerable’ due to his life of heroic virtue.

Venerable Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz
Venerable Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz (photo: CNA/Photo courtesy of Holy Name Catholic Church, Washington)

VATICAN CITY — Servant of God Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz is one of the 11 causes for canonization that Pope Francis advanced yesterday. The holy individuals will be granted the title “Venerable” with the Pope’s recognition of heroic virtue.

Pope Francis approved the advancement of the causes for canonization during a private Jan. 22 audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

In addition to Msgr. Schwartz, six other Servants of God were recognized for heroic virtue, while three have been acknowledged as martyrs. The Pope also recognized a miracle attributed to one Italian nun.

Msgr. Schwartz, also referred to as “Father Al,” was born in Washington in 1930 and ordained a priest in 1957. Six months after his ordination to the priesthood, he moved to Korea as a missionary and lived a life devoted to helping poor children.

He dedicated his life to the Virgin of the Poor after making several visits to a shrine where Mary, under that title, had appeared in Belgium.. He made the shrine visits while he was in seminary there.

In 1964, the priest founded the Religious Sisters of Mary in Busan, South Korea, and in 1981, he founded the Brothers of Christ in the South Korean capital of Seoul.

Together with both of his orders, Msgr. Schwartz also helped to establish boys towns and girls towns in order to educate, care for and help foster a brighter future for orphans and abandoned children, as well as for those coming from extremely poor families.

He also worked in the building of sanatoriums and hospitals for the needy and hospices for the homeless and handicapped, as well as for mentally challenged youth and unwed mothers. He would often beg for funds in order to allow the poor to enter free of charge.

In 1989, Msgr. Schwartz developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and was confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life. He died in 1992, and his cause for canonization opened in Manila, where his work had spread, in 2003.

His body resides at the Children’s Village for Girls in Silang, Cavite, in the Philippines.

Other Servants of God to receive the Pope’s approval of their heroic virtue are Father Ladislao Bukowinski, a Ukrainian diocesan priest who lived from 1904-1974, and Cointa Jauregui Oses, a Spanish nun professed with the Company of Mary, Our Lady.

Also among those whom Pope Francis recognized as having heroic virtue are four laypersons, including Teresa Gardi, an Italian woman who lived from 1769-1837 and was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis.

The other three laypeople include Luis De Trelles y Nuogerol, who lived from 1819 to 1891 and founded the Nocturnal Adoration Society in Spain;  Elisabeth Maria who lived from 1929 to 1958 in Japan; and Virginia Blanco Tardio, who lived from 1916 to 1990 in Bolivia.

Pope Francis also recognized the martyrdom of three Servants of God in his Jan. 22 meeting, one of whom is South-African layman Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa, who was killed for the faith in 1990.

Spanish Servants of God Fidela, also known in her time as Dolores Oller Angelats, and two companions were also recognized as martyrs. Professed nuns with the Institute of Sisters of St. Joseph, they were killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between Aug. 26 and 29, 1936.

In addition, Pio Heredia Zubia and his 17 companions, consisting of Trappist monks of Cantabria and Cistercian nuns of the Congregation of St. Bernard, were also recognized by the Pope as martyrs. The companions were killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.

And one miracle has been approved for Venerable Maria Teresa Casini, allowing for her beatification. The Italian foundress of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was born in 1864 and died in 1937.