The Echoes of Canonization
It was 10:00 A.M. on May 15, 2022, at St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City in Rome when Pope Francis proclaimed Blessed Marie Rivier. She was proclaimed along with nine (9) other “Blessed” in the Canonization Mass.
The Mass began with the rite of canonization, which included the reading of short biographies of each “Blessed”, by Cardinal Marcelo Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The litany of saints was sung before Pope Francis recited the formula of canonization.
“Holiness does not consist of a few heroic gestures, but of many small acts of daily love,” Pope Francis said in his homily. Furthermore, he said, that to serve the Gospel and our brothers and sisters and to offer our lives without expecting anything in return, or any worldly glory were the ways on how our fellow travelers who are canonized lived their holiness. The Holy Father called on the faithful to follow the saints’ examples in our own call to holiness, a form of holiness all our own, “not a photocopy of someone else’s holiness.”
It was on December 13, 2021, when the Pope approved the decree of her Canonization. It was the recognition of a miracle attributed to Blessed Marie Rivier paving the way for her canonization. Her intercession was credited for the healing of Angel Marie Vier Albaracin Degamo, now 6 years old, from Clarin, Bohol, who was diagnosed with a life-threatening hydrops fetalis, a serious condition when an abnormal accumulation of fluid builds up around the lungs and heart of a fetus in the mother’s womb.
Sr. Samuelita P. Enriquez, pm, the Provincial Superior of PM Philippine Province said, “The Sisters of the Presentation of Mary are grateful to the church for recognizing this miracle. This is the best gift being granted to our Congregation as we end the celebration of the 225th anniversary of our foundation!”
On May 11, 2022, a delegation from the Philippines led by Bishop Alberto Uy, DD, from the Diocese of Tagbilaran, together with the members of the Diocesan Inquiry that was held in Clarin, Bohol last December 2018. With Sr. Samuelita P. Enriquez, pm were some members of the PM Sisters-Philippines, the Degamo family and other PM lay collaborators traveled all the way to Rome to take part in the historic event.
“I rejoice with the PM Sisters that their foundress is recognized for her holiness of life. What a blessing it is to hear that she is called Saint Marie Rivier! The canonization of Saint Marie Rivier is a blessing not only to the Presentation of Mary Sisters but to the whole church as well,” one delegate said during the event.
During the week of the canonization, special celebrations were being held at different places in Rome. The gathering of the Presentation of Mary community for a prayer service was held on May 14 at St. Ambrose and St. Charles Basilica. May 16 was the day of thanksgiving. The Hoy Mass presided over by Bishop Abet Uy, DD. at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. The Mass was said in several languages connecting together all those who took part in the celebration including those who watched it livestreamed. After the Mass, the group traveled to Focolare Mariapoli Center in Castel Gandolfo for a grand celebration. Later in the afternoon, the PM Sisters from all over the world expressed in their most unique and meaningful ways, their tribute to their foundress, St. Marie Rivier, through the varied presentations that they showcased. The PM Sisters from the Philippines exhibited their beautifully choreographed and well-applauded presentation through the song “Let’s All be Saints” composed by Sr. Albina Agad, pm with a special participation of the “miracle child” Angel Marie Vier Degamo and other delegates.
“Indeed, the different presentations were expressions of joy and gratitude that no language barrier and no culture differences stopped us from sharing what was inside our hearts,” Sr. Monalyn Villamor, pm recalled. “It reminded us how tremendous is God’s love uniting all of us through the spirit of St. Marie Rivier that is alive and present among us,” she added.
The canonization day of St. Marie Rivier was concluded but as a way of expressing their gratitude for the gift of the canonization of their foundress, thanksgiving celebrations of the PM Sisters around the world are still going on. Here in the Philippines, two thanksgiving masses are celebrated. One was at San Pedro Cathedral, Davao City on July 15, 2022 and another thanksgiving mass will take place on July 22, 2022 at Clarin, Bohol where the miracle attributed to the intercession of St. Marie Rivier took place.
Though celebrated in diverse ways, members of the Presentation of Mary Sisters from different parts of the world along with friends, and associates were united in one voice saying – Viva St. Marie Rivier! Truly, the spirit of joy and enthusiasm was all around as they greeted and embraced old and new friends in jubilation. They experienced that unity of being gathered together for one meaningful purpose- celebrating Marie Rivier’s sainthood!
By Evamy Escol