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Bishops Approve Canonical Step for Sainthood Causes

November 15, 2016

BALTIMORE—The U.S. bishops gathered at their annual fall General Assembly in Baltimore, have approved by a voice vote the canonical consultation of four causes for beatification and canonization: Julia Greeley, sought by Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver; Sister Blandina Segale, S.C., sought by Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Fr. Patrick Ryan, sought by Bishop Richard F. Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee; and Fr. Bernard Quinn, sought by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn.

Episcopal consultation is a step in the Catholic Church's process toward declaring a person a saint.

Julia Greeley was born into slavery in Hannibal, Missouri, sometime between 1838-1848. At an early age, she suffered at the hands of a slave owner, who destroyed her right eye while beating her mother. She was freed by President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and entered the Catholic Church while in Colorado, receiving the sacrament of baptism in 1880. As a lay Franciscan, closely affiliated with the Jesuits at her parish, she was actively involved in promoting the faith and devotion to the Sacred Heart. She became known by her acts of charity and mercy to those living on the margins of society, in spite of living in extreme poverty herself. Greeley died in 1918.

Sister Blandina Segale, S.C. was born in 1850 in Cicagna, Italy. She and her family immigrated to the United States in 1854 and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her education and life was strongly influenced by the Sisters of Notre Dame, the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. She joined the latter community at 16. Sister Blandina was sent to work in schools, orphanages and hospitals in Trinidad and Cincinnati, Ohio; Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Pueblo, Colorado. She became a defender of the poor, the sick, the marginalized, Native Americans, and Mexican and Italian immigrants. She often visited jails and became involved in issues such as human trafficking and juvenile delinquency. She died in 1941, at 91 years old.

Father Patrick Ryan was born in 1845 in County Tipperary, Ireland. His family immigrated and settled in New York. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1869 in Nashville, Tennessee.  Father Ryan was pastor of Saints Peter and Paul's parish, for six years and during that time he became a shepherd who gave his life in ministering to his flock. In 1878, he died at 33 years old, when his community in Chattanooga was struck with a yellow fever epidemic that took the lives of hundreds. In the midst of the epidemic, Fr. Ryan is reported to have been seen going from house to house in the worst infected areas of the city to find what he could do for the sick and the needy. Besides ministering to the sick and dying during the epidemic, one of his greatest accomplishments was to open a private academy and a parish school under the direction of the Dominican Sisters.

Father Bernard Quinn was born in 1888 in Newark, New Jersey. He was the son of poor Irish immigrants. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1912, and served as a priest in the Diocese of Brooklyn.  There, he worked unceasingly to promote the faith, and priestly and religious vocations among African-Americans, and helped those in most need. In 1918 during World War I, he volunteered for military service and was assigned to France where her ministered to the sick and wounded soldiers in hospitals. Upon his return to Brooklyn, he reached out to African-American groups and established the St. Peter Claver Church in 1922, a ministry for black Catholics in the community. With the growth of homelessness among African-American children even prior to the 1929 Depression, Father Quinn founded an orphanage that was twice burned to the ground by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Putting his life at risk, he successfully built the orphanage for a third time. He went on to build a parish school, convent and parish center that welcomed everyone regardless of their race or religion. He went on to establish additional missions throughout Brooklyn.

More information on the sainthood process is available at:

Keywords: USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, November meeting, General Assembly, Baltimore,

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Norma Montenegro Flynn

O: 202-541-3202



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