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In the Catholic Church, a positio (Positio super Virtutibus) is a document or collection of documents used in the process by which a person is declared Venerable, the second of the four steps on the path to canonization as a saint. It collects the evidence obtained by a diocesan inquiry into a candidate's heroic virtues in a form suitable for presentation to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Upon presentation, the positio is examined by a committee of expert historians and theologians, and if they find the evidence presented suitable, they may then make a recommendation to the Pope that the candidate be declared Venerable.
A positio is a formal brief arguing for the canonization of an individual in the Roman Catholic Church. Before canonization,the formal declaration by the Pope that a person is a saint, there is a long process, with various intermediate steps. First, a person whose holiness is being investigated (by a Postulator, appointed by the Pope) is referred to as a Servant of God. The very fact of appointing a postulator means that the process of beatification has been activated.
If investigations reveal that the person was indeed holy enough, then a "formal argument for sainthood", the positio, is presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. This document contains the informatio, or life story, of the Servant of God under investigation, as well as a series of documents and testimonies to support the cause (summarium). If the Positio is approved, the Pope bestows the title of “Venerable,” that is, worthy of the devotion of Catholic believers.
A positio can run to over 1,000 pages in length. The time between the preparation of a positio and a recommendation by the committee of historians and theologians can often be decades.
Canonization, in its most exact historical sense, is a papal declaration that the Catholic faithful may venerate a particular deceased member of the church. Popes began making such decrees in the tenth century. Up to that point, the local bishops governed the veneration of holy men and women within their own dioceses; and there may have been, for any particular saint, no formal decree at all. In subsequent centuries, the procedures became increasingly regularized and the popes began restricting to themselves the right to declare someone a Catholic saint. In contemporary usage, the term is understood to refer to the act by which any Christian church declares that a person who has died is a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the list of recognized saints, called the "canon". Today, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion speak of "canonized" saints, in addition to the Roman Catholic Church.
The Venerable is used as a style or epithet in several Christian churches. It is also the common English-language translation of a number of Buddhist titles, and is used as a word of praise in some cases.
The process of beatification and canonization has undergone various reforms in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. For current practice, as well as a discussion of similar processes in other churches, see the article on canonization. This article describes the process as it was before the promulgation of the Codex Iuris Canonici of 1983.
"Servant of God" is a term used for individuals by various religions for people believed to be pious in the faith's tradition. In the Catholic Church, it designates an individual who is being investigated by the Church for possible canonization as a saint. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, this term is used to refer to any Eastern Orthodox Christian. The Arabic name Abdullah, the Hebrew name Obadiah (עובדיה), the German name Gottschalk, and the Sanskrit name Devadasa are all variations of "servant of God".
Zofia Czeska-Maciejowska was a Polish professed religious and the founder of the Sisters of the Presentation. Czeska was married before a brief period of time before following her call into the religious life.
Canonization of Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer discusses John Paul II's decision to canonize Josemaría Escrivá, founder of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, more commonly known as Opus Dei.
Ciriaco María Sancha y Hervás was a Spanish cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as the Archbishop of Toledo in addition to being the Primate of Spain and the Patriarch of the West Indies. He established the Sisters of Charity in 1869.
Luigi Guanella was an Italian Roman Catholic priest Fr. Guanella was ordained a priest on May 26, 1866 in Como, and was assigned to a small parish in Savogno. and is the founder of several religious institutes: the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence (1890) and the Servants of Charity alongside his friends David Albertario and Giuseppe Toniolo. Guanella also founded the Pious Union of Saint Joseph (1914) with his supporter and first member Pope Pius X. These religious communities focused on the relief of the poor throughout the world. The Servants of Charity motto reads "In Omnibus Charitas" which became the cornerstone for Guanella's own life.
Stanisław Kazimierczyk was a Polish Catholic priest and a professed member of the Canons Regular of the Lateran. He became noted for his ardent devotions to both the Eucharist and to his personal patron Saint Stanisław as well as for his charitable dedication to the ill and poor of Kraków.
Saint Giulia Salzano was an Italian Roman Catholic professed religious and the founder of the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1905). Salzano served as a teacher prior to becoming a religious and since 1865 worked in Casoria as a teacher for children where she demonstrated herself as an apt catechist and instructor.
Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani was an Italian Roman Catholic professed religious and the co-founder of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family; she established them alongside Blessed Giuseppe Nascimbeni. As a nun she received the religious name of "Maria Giuseppina of the Immaculata".
Saint Giovanni Battista Piamarta was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and educator. Piamarta was also the founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Piamarta established his congregation in 1900 in order to promote Christian education across the Italian peninsula. Piamarta also founded the Humble Servants of the Lord.
Saint Laura Montoya - known in religion as Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena - was a Colombian Roman Catholic religious sister and the founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and Saint Catherine of Siena (1914). She was well known for her work with Indigenous peoples and for acting as a strong role model for South American girls.
The cause for the canonization of Pope Paul VI, who died in 1978, commenced in 1993 and he was canonized on 14 October 2018. After having been proclaimed a Servant of God and declared Venerable, he was beatified on 19 October 2014, after the recognition of a miracle had been attributed to his intercession, and declared a saint by Pope Francis I on 14 October 2018.
Saint Giuditta Vannini – also known as Giuseppina – was an Italian Roman Catholic nun who became a Camillian. Together with Luigi Tezza she established the religious congregation known as the Daughters of Saint Camillus. Both she and her two siblings were orphaned as children and were placed indifferent homes; she was raised and educated in Rome under nuns where her vocation to the religious vocation was strengthened. Vannini later tried joining the religious life but was forced to leave during her novitiate period after suffering from ill health. Both she and Tezza met in 1891 and founded a religious congregation of which Vannini served as Superior General until her death while Tezza was exiled to Peru around 1900.
Blessed Pierre-François Jamet was a French Roman Catholic priest who refused to take the oath of allegiance during the French Revolution. He is also called the "Second Founder" due to restoring the dwindled order of the Sisters of the Bon Sauveur. In 1827 he was awarded the Legion of Honor for his service as a priest.
Francesco Spinelli was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and the founder of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament. Spinelli became close contemporaries of Saint Geltrude Comensoli and Blessed Luigi Maria Palazzolo and had a previous collaboration with Comensoli in which the two established a religious institute in Bergamo before a rift between members caused Spinelli to distance himself from its work and leave.
Elisabetta Vendramini was an Italian Roman Catholic professed religious who established the Franciscan Elizabethan Sisters in 1830 in Padua. She relocated there after she broke off her engagement to a man from Ferrara.
Helena Stollenwerk was a German Roman Catholic and a professed member of the Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration in the religious name of "Maria Virgo". Stollenwerk collaborated with Saint Arnold Janssen and Blessed Hendrina Stenmanns and co-founded the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit.
Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri Fernández de Heredia was a Spanish Roman Catholic professor and a member of the Opus Dei personal prelature. She was one of the first women to join Opus Dei, after meeting the founder Josemaría Escrivá in 1944. She helped start Opus Dei in Mexico and also collaborated directly with Escrivá in Rome. A serious heart condition eventually claimed her life in 1975.
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