Sister Blandina Segale: The Journey to Sainthood

Sister Blandina Segale: The Journey to Sainthood

“I am satisfied
to sow in tears
if I may reap
in joy.”

St. Elizabeth Seton

 

Sister Blandina Segale: The Journey to Sainthood

In 2014 the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati announced that the cause for canonization of S. Blandina Segale had been approved. Since, much effort and time has been spent to gather information and evidence to support her cause. As we remember S. Blandina today, on her birthday, Allen Sanchez, petitioner for her cause, provides the following update on the Servant of God’s journey to sainthood.

Sister Blandina Segale

Sister Blandina Segale

The Servant of God S. Blandina Segale is as hard at work today as when she was opening hospitals and starting social institutions. Many good men and women work hard and are courageous in their service to the poor, the vulnerable and marginalized and we can call all these people saints; but what distinguishes a person being the subject of an Inquiry for the Canonization of Sainthood is one whose commitment to the Gospel is evident in the works performed after their death and beyond the grave.

The Servant of God S. Blandina Segale’s intercession can be seen in three ways: a following of devotees who pray for her intercession; her story and writing which continue to inspire; and the miraculous healings and works that are attributed to the prayer to Servant of God S. Blandina Segale’s intercession. To date, there have been 29 miracles attributed to the Servant of God S. Blandina Segale’s intercession after prayers had been offered to her. 

The process of beatification and canonization is likened to knocking on her grave, pleading for her to show us that, through God’s grace, she has a view of our current situation. This imagery is as if the pilgrims on earth are at the door of heaven, knowing that the Servant of God S. Blandina Segale dwells with God. The people of God bring their plea to the institutional church to confirm her intercession to Christ on our behalf and to lead the faithful in the celebration that one like us, a child of Adam and Eve, can be gathered around the Throne of God, giving all hope and peace that we, too, can tread the path of holiness.

The cause has advanced as the Servant of God S. Blandina Segale received the title of Servant of God and now the procitio is completed and being submitted to the Historical and Theological Commissions. The procitio is a lengthy document that summarizes and explains the thousands of pages that make up the Acts of the Diocesan Inquiries. This is called the Roman Phase of the Inquiry.

If the commissions’ questions are sufficiently met, the recommendation would then be made by the Congregation of the Cause of Saints to Pope Francis to recognize Servant of God S. Blandina Segale’s Heroic Virtue and bestow the title of Venerable.

Inquiries into miracles have been conducted and these will be used for the phase after veneration called beatification. One verified miracle is needed for beatification. If and when beautification takes place, then another miracle attributed to Servant of God S. Blandina Segale’s intercession would have to occur after the date of beatification, the signs that are needed to show that the subject of the Inquiry of Sainthood is still at work among us. The Servant of God S. Blandina Segale’s popularity continues to grow.

Servant of God S. Blandina Segale, pray for us.

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First Hearing For S. Blandina Segale

First Hearing For S. Blandina Segale

“You must realize that
authority is not to be
wielded absolutely,
but charitably.”

St. Louise de Marillac

 

First Hearing Held for S. Blandina Segale

By S. Victoria Marie Forde

Santos by S. Roberta Westrick, SC

“On behalf of Archbishop John Wester and myself I welcome you to the first session of the Diocesan Inquiry of the Cause of Canonization of the Servant of God, Sister Blandina Segale.”
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“On this 25th day of August, in this year of Our Lord 2015, the third year of the Pontificate of His Holiness Pope Francis, I call this first session to order.”

With these words Archbishop Emeritus Michael J. Sheehan, episcopal delegate, opened the First Session of the three to be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. These are to prove on a diocesan level the heroic sanctity of Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Blandina Segale.

This formal Vatican-scripted session began with the Archbishop seated on a stage with Chancellor Fr. John Cannon who swore in each person involved.

At a table below, facing them, were Bishop Emeritus Ricardo Ramirez, postulator; Allen Sánchez, CEO of St. Joseph’s Children, petitioner; and Fr. Oscar Coelho, promoter of justice.

Seated behind them were the historic commissioners: S. Joan Elizabeth Cook, S. Judith Metz, S. Victoria Marie Forde, and Peso Chavez, private investigator. Behind them historical commissioners, Sisters Pat Sabourin and Juanita Marie Gonzales, were seated with the St. Joseph’s Children board, the petitioners for the cause. On the side were the court recorder and the notary, Ms. Patricia Ramos, also sworn in. For further validation all proceedings were videotaped.

Because this session was open to the press and the public, in the audience of interested people present it was good to see Associates, former students, and friends of the Community.

To begin, the Promoter of Justice Fr. Coelho, “as prescribed in Sanctorum Mater,” read the titles of the 11 collected documents of the first session into the Acts and handed them to the Archbishop. After he read the title At the End of the Santa Fe Trail, he asked Bishop Ramirez, postulator, if the theological censors had read and written an opinion of the book. The answer was “Yes, and I present their letters that remain secret.” Who these theological censors are is not known so as not to be influenced by others.

Regarding The Santa Maria Institute, Bishop Ramirez responded, “No, the book was not written by the Servant of God and is entered into the Acts as documentation of her good works and heroic virtue. Sanctorum only requires the writings of the Servant of God be examined by the theological censors.”

Each of the commissioners was again sworn in and answered questions before and after presenting testimonials. These papers and notarized letters from the three Sisters of Charity and grandniece Rita Stagge, who knew S. Blandina, were also presented formally. These were locked in a leather case with the other material, including At the End of the Santa Fe Trail and The Santa Maria Institute.

With her paper S. Joan Cook also entered the 50 responses from Sisters of Charity who prayed to S. Blandina. After investigating the lynching S. Blandina prevented, Mr. Peso Chavez presented convincing evidence of the usual speedy “justice” in Trinidad through newspaper articles of the time S. Blandina was there, prison records of the man she saved from lynching, and proof of his son John who came to her for help. He added that among the hundreds he has worked on, this was the most unusual case he has ever investigated.

After these testimonials the Archbishop asked the promotor of justice and the notary to join him in signing the order to insert all these acts into the record. Finally, he solemnly announced, “The first session of the Archdiocesan Inquiry of the Cause of Canonization of the Servant of God, Sister Blandina Segale, is now ended.

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

And the audience spontaneously applauded. We, Sisters of Charity, were humbled and elated that we could help move our sister, Blandina, one step closer to canonization.

This report would not be complete without special thanks to Allen Sánchez, CEO, St. Joseph’s Children, who with his assistant Kathaleen Myers and staff spent numberless hours to make this First Session run so smoothly.

Who We Are

Sister Blandina’s Path to Sainthood Continues

“You must realize that
authority is not to be
wielded absolutely,
but charitably.”

St. Louise de Marillac

 

S. Blandina’s Path to Sainthood Continues

By S. Georgia Kitt

Tomas Sanchez and his crew visited the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse in August to research material for the TV series, At the End of the Santa Fe Trail, to be based on S. Blandina Segale’s life.

Current interest in the cause for sainthood for S. Blandina Segale remains high and enthusiastic. Articles have appeared nationally as well as locally, offering insights into the young S. Blandina who founded hospitals and schools, but also rescued those who were being trafficked and advocated for justice in the Southwest. S. Blandina’s broad appeal continues to stimulate the activities of the Sisters of Charity Archives at the Motherhouse as well. Two areas of curiosity, for those following her cause closely, are the late August visit of the television production team of Tomas Sanchez and the Aug. 30 meeting of the canonization group held at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. Both groups have return visits planned in the late fall.

The award-winning production crew for Sanchez Films LLC spent one week in August reviewing the many materials in the SC Archives related to S. Blandina’s life and ministry in the Southwest and her direct work among the Italian immigrants in Cincinnati. The company, headed by Tomas Sanchez, held a press conference on July 13 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to announce their plans to produce the TV series, At the End of the Santa Fe Trail, and to raise funds for the project. They have been given permission to use the same title as that of her book which is an account of her experiences ministering to the needs of the Native American and Hispanic immigrants in Colorado and New Mexico in the 1890s; she was writing this to her sister, S. Justina, also a Sister of Charity. The filmmaker sees this as an opportunity to tell a positive story about a woman who cared for the needy and disadvantaged.

The basis for the television series will engage audiences with S. Blandina’s exploits while staying true to the story of this Sister who immigrated to the U.S. from a small Italian village in 1854, only to find herself in the New Mexico Territory staring down armed outlaws, including Billy the Kid. The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati will have oversight and give final approval to the script the crew develops along with ongoing rights to review the materials’ authenticity. The production crew plans to produce the scripts for the series in October, with actual completion of the TV series estimated to be one year away; most of the actual producing will take place in New Mexico, providing 150 jobs to New Mexico residents. While in Cincinnati the crew also visited San Antonio Church, a parish continuing today, but started by S. Blandina to serve the Italian immigrants in Cincinnati in the 1920s; they met with current members of the church whose families ties go back to S. Blandina.

At the same time the TV production crews came, the canonization group for her cause – Bishop Emeritus Ricardo Ramirez (postulator) and Michael J. Sheehan (judge); Allen Sanchez, CEO of St. Joseph’s Children (petitioner) and Rev. Oscar Coelho (promoter of justice) also paid a visit to the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse and the Archives. This group is currently in the third session of the second diocesan inquiry and are preparing their report for the Pontifical Congregation for the Cause of Saints in Rome. They are authorized to inquire into S. Blandina’s heroic virtues. Recently appointed as the historical commission, to assist the canonization group, and taking their deposition for this phase of the process are: Veronica Buchanan, SC archivist; S. Victoria Marie Forde; Tim Moller, CFO, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati; and Amelia Riedel, Communications director, SC Ministry Foundation; they reviewed the archive materials during September. Five current members of San Antonio Church were also deposed, recording their knowledge of the history of the parish and S. Blandina’s founding of their church in 1922; this took place at the downtown offices of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The Vatican has completed an initial investigatory phase on her life and is now assessing whether she committed any miracles to inform the Church’s decision on whether she should be a saint.

Allen Sanchez, CEO of St. Joseph’s Children, originally petitioned for her sainthood June 29, 2014, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In speaking about S. Blandina, Sanchez remarked, “She saw good in everyone, including criminals, and at the turn of the century convinced the Bernalillo, New Mexico, sheriff to empty the county jail to help build St. Joseph’s Children, which still carries on her mission today. Her stands against violence in the Wild West are particularly relevant in a modern America as gun violence continues to plague the country. She finds the best in everyone.”

Who We Are

Vatican Opens Cause for Canonization of S. Blandina Segale

“You must realize that
authority is not to be
wielded absolutely,
but charitably.”

St. Louise de Marillac

 

Vatican Opens Cause for Canonization of S. Blandina Segale

Sisters of Charity Monica Lucas, Celestia Koebel, Patricia Sabourin and Victoria Marie Forde attended the press conference announcing the cause of sainthood for Sister Blandina Segale, on June 25, 2014. The decree was hung on the doors of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, NM on June 29. Participating in the ceremonies were: Most Rev. Ricardo Ramirez, Bishop Emeritus of Las Cruces (Postulator), Most Rev. Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe (Judge for the Cause), Victor Limary (Board of Directors Vice-Chair CHI St. Joseph’s Children), and Allan Sanchez (Petitioner for the Cause, President & CEO of CHI St. Joseph’s Children). St. Joseph’s Children was founded by Sister Blandina while ministering among the poor in the New Mexico Territory.

Fiscal Year 2014 concluded with exciting news for the Charity family following the announcement that the cause for the canonization of Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Blandina Segale had been approved. The cause of Sister’s canonization is being led by the board of St. Joseph’s Children, Albuquerque, New Mexico, a member of Catholic Health Initiatives. Based on documents already submitted to the Vatican, S. Blandina can now be called by her new title, Servant of God.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, held a press conference on June 25, 2013, to announce the Vatican’s immediate permission to open the cause. On June 29 a pontifical ceremony at St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe was held to post the official decree on the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi’s doors, announcing the cause of Servant of God Sister Blandina.

S. Blandina is remembered fondly in the Southwest and at home in Cincinnati where she entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati on Sept. 13, 1866. After spending several years teaching in schools in Ohio, the young Sister was sent, by herself, over the Santa Fe Trail in 1872 to the Colorado Territory. Here she was initiated into frontier life with all its adventures and dangers. Assigned to teach in the public school, she also had encounters with Billy the Kid and “frontier justice.”

In 1877, S. Blandina moved south to Santa Fe where her exciting activities continued in the schools, orphanage, and hospital the Sisters operated. She came to be known in every level of society from members of the state legislature to indigent patients at St. Vincent Hospital. After spending four years in Santa Fe, she went to Albuquerque where, besides her work of teaching, opened a Wayfarers’ House, became a defender of Native Americans and “Mexicans,” and went on begging trips to mining and railroad camps to raise money to support the Sisters’ missions.

The intrepid S. Blandina returned to Ohio in 1893, and four years later was sent, with her sister, S. Justina Segale, “to see if they could do anything for the poor Italian [immigrants]” in the inner city of Cincinnati. Going to explore the conditions with only five dollars in their pocket, these two sisters founded and managed Santa Maria Institute, the first Catholic settlement house in the United States in 1897. They enlisted assistance from numerous sources and established services of every description to assist the poor and needy. In the process they visited the jails and charity wards in the hospitals and became involved in issues such as human trafficking and juvenile delinquency

S. Blandina’s stories of trust, courage, spirit and determination inspire and cause laughter at the same time. She was a friend and model to many as she carried out her ministry to serve God’s people with all the love that was in her being. Her works continue to be relevant today and inspire in our own response to needs and issues.

S. Blandina Segale, pray for us.

Who We Are

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Nov
30
Tue
Memorial Service for S. Mary Frances Boyle
Nov 30 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

You will be able to view the mass at 10:00 a.m. by CLICKING HERE or watch the archived mass on the Sisters password-protected section of the website.

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S. Mary Frances Boyle

Sister Mary Frances Boyle died Nov. 5, 2021, at the age of 87 in Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility, Mount St. Joseph, Ohio. Sister Mary Frances was born on March 14, 1934 to John and Adwilda (Hebert) in Denver, Colorado. She was a Sister of Charity for 70 years.