Exhumation of the Blessed Marie Alphonsine
JERUSALEM – On Friday, April 5, 2013, the transfer of the remains of Blessed Marie Alphonsine took place in Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Jerusalem, in the presence of the Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal and all experts closely involved in the cause of canonization of the foundress of the Sisters of the Rosary.
The exhumation of the body of Marie-Alphonsine beatified three years ago on November 22, 2009, took place with much emotion and solemnity on April 5, in the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Jerusalem. Identifying the body is a necessary step in the beatification or canonization of a person in order to avoid false devotions, the trafficking of relics, and also ascertain that the remains buried are that of the saint. It also allows the faithful to pray for a second time, before the remains of the person. This event took place in the presence of His Beatitude, Patriarch Fouad Twal; Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Israel and the Judge delegate in the canonization of Blessed Marie Alphonsine; Bishop Shomali; Bishop Battish; Mother Iness Al-Yacoub, Superior General of the Sisters of the Rosary. Also present were Father Emile Salayta, promoter of Justice; Mr. Khader Habash, notary; Fr. Francesco Ricci, OP, Postulator of the cause for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Archbishop Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio to Israel; and a commission of doctors and experts. During the prayer accompanying this step, Patriarch Twal reaffirmed that Marie Alphonsine was “chosen by Mary” to walk in “the way of perfection and holiness.” The relics were transferred to an approved urn under the supervision of experts, will remain in the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. In the afternoon, the same delegation visited the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem for the official closing of the file of inquiry of Blessed Marie Alphonsine. The sealed envelope will be taken to the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints by the postulator, Father Francesco Ricci.
Three years ago, on November 22, 2009, Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas was beatified. She is the second faithful of the Diocese of Jerusalem to be declared Blessed (after the Carmelite, Mariam Baouardy, in 1983). In the words of Patriarch Fouad Twal, “Mother Marie-Alphonsine is a profound illustration, Arabic and Jerusalemite, a splendid illustration of the Gospel of Christ.”
Many hope to see her canonized one day. Ten months ago, on May 2, 2012, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem appointed a court to consider a second miracle that allegedly took place through the intercession of Blessed Marie-Alphonsine. A first step towards the eventual canonization of this Blessed of the Holy Land.
Meanwhile, her influence increasingly extends worldwide, illustrating the words of Benedict XVI during the 2009 beatification: “Marie-Alphonsine shines like the glory of the Catholic Church and sparkles like a precious jewel on the land of Jesus Christ.”
Amélie de La Hougue