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Pope Francis clears two for sainthood

Devasahayam Pillai, depicted by a statue at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Nagercoil, India, was among two candidates Pope Francis cleared for sainthood Saturday. File photo by Kumbalam/Wikimedia Commons
Devasahayam Pillai, depicted by a statue at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Nagercoil, India, was among two candidates Pope Francis cleared for sainthood Saturday. File photo by Kumbalam/Wikimedia Commons

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Pope Francis has cleared two people for sainthood including an Indian layman Roman Catholics consider to be a martyr, and a religious institute founder and alleged miracle worker in Italy.

The pope on Friday authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to put into effect eight decrees among 10 candidates, and cleared two of them for sainthood.

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Devasahayam Pillai of India, an 18th century Hindu man who converted to Catholicism and has been considered a martyr of the Christian faith, was among the two cleared for sainthood.

Pillai came from a wealthy family of high caste in Hindu and was raised by his uncle on his mother's side, according to his biography. Pope Benedict XVI declared him blessed on December 2, 2012, 300 years after his birth.

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Roman Catholics believe he was killed by the Indian kingdom of Travancore for upholding his Christian faith. Leaders of his native religion did not approve of his conversion and brought false charges of treason and espionage against him, while divesting his post in the royal administration. He was a Catholic for seven years before he was shot dead in the Aralvaimozhy forest on Jan. 14,1752.

Devotees mourn him at his tomb at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Nagercoil, India.

Francis also cleared Blessed Maria Francesca di Gesu, who was born Anna Maria Rubatto, on February 14, 1844, in Carmagnola, Italy, for canonization. She was the founder of the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto. She died in Motevideo, Uruguay on August 6, 1904.

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In 1883, the Capuchin friar Father Angelico da Sestri Ponente invited Rubatto, who was in Loano in Liguria with her sister, to take care of a nascent Religious Institute.

Rubatto changed her name to Sister Maria Francesca di Gesu and simultaneously became the first superior general of the Institute, a position she held until her death.

On January 23, 1885, she founded a religious institute that would become known as Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto and aimed to help the sick and help with Christian education of youth, the website shows.

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On October 10, 1993, Saint John Paul II beatified her, marking her as the first blessed of Uruguay. The beatification was related to an alleged miraculous event in 1939 in which a child suffering from a serious infection and septic shock after a tonsillectomy operation was healed following prayers address to God through the intercession of Rubatto.

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