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Decree paves way for beatification of USF sponsoring order’s foundress

Statement as issued Wednesday by the University of Saint Francis:

April 3, 2013 FORT WAYNE, Ind. —With a Decree of Miracle issued on March 27 by newly elected Pope Francis, Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration foundress Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel continues the process toward beatification on Nov. 10 in Paderborn, Germany. The Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration is the sponsoring order of the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne.

Beatification is a declaration by the Pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church that one of the deceased faithful lived a holy life and/or died a martyr’s death and is now dwelling in heaven. As a process, the beatification consists of a years-long examination of the life, virtues, writings and reputation for holiness of the servant of God under consideration, by the bishop of the place he or she resided or died. A second, or Apostolic, process is instituted by the Holy See when the first process reveals that the servant of God practiced virtue in a heroic degree or died a martyr for the faith. Beatified persons are called “Blessed” and may be venerated by the faithful but not throughout the universal Church.

The decree, among the first for Pope Francis from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, acknowledges a miracle attributed to the intercession of Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel. The papal affirmation of the miraculous cure of a young boy from Colorado Springs – now a young adult – paves the way to her beatification.

Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel was born Sept. 17, 1830 in Olpe, Germany. She sought to combine the contemplative and active religious life through perpetual adoration of the blessed sacrament and the works of mercy in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.

She founded the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Olpe in 1863, and this year marks the 150th anniversary of the congregation’s founding. The order has four provinces: Mishawaka, Ind., Colorado Springs, Colo., Cologne, Germany, and BayBay, Leyete, in the Philippines.

The Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration continue to serve in education, health care and other ecclesial ministries in Germany, the United States, the Philippines and Brazil. The Provincial House of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Province is located in Mishawaka, Ind. These Sisters serve in the archdioceses of Chicago and Indianapolis and the dioceses of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Lafayette and Gary.

“The Sisters rejoice that this gift comes during their celebration of the 150th Jubilee of the congregation and the Year of Faith for the Catholic Church,” said University of Saint Francis President Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF.

The University of Saint Francis, founded in 1890 as a comprehensive university in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs through the School of Health Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership, School of Professional Studies and School of Creative Arts. The university’s College of Adult Learning designs focused curriculum for working adults by offering online and accelerated programs, through its Virtual, Fort Wayne and Crown Point campuses. More than 2,300 students from a broad geographic region attend USF for its academic excellence.

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