How can I become holy? By doing as best as I can everything that will be asked of me each day.

-Madre Clélia Merloni

BEATIFICATION

Mother Clelia on the Road to Sanctity

The process of the beatification of Mother Clelia began in 1988 at the request of the Congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The opening of the Diocesan process took place in Rome. At the end of the proceedings in 1998, sixty witnesses from Italy, the United States and Brazil gave their testimonies about the holiness of Mother Clelia.

After a detailed report by the historical commission, the diocesan phase ended on May 21, 1999 with Mother Clelia declared “Servant of God”.

The “Positio”, a detailed study of 1385 pages on the life of Mother Clelia, examining her heroic virtue and reputation of holiness, includes testimonies, documents, and evidence in her defense of the most critical moments of her life. In 2015, after experts had examined the “Positio”, the heroic virtue of Mother Clelia was recognized and confirmed. In December, 2016, Pope Francis signed the decree of heroic virtue and Mother Clelia was declared “VENERABLE”.

On January 27, 2018 the Holy Father put his signature to the decree recognizing the miracle obtained through the intercession of Mother Clelia. This act is the completion of the beatification process.

THE MIRACLE

The story of the miracle dates back to March 14, 1951, when the Brazilian doctor, Pedro Ângelo de Oliveira Filho, was stricken suddenly by a progressive paralysis of all four limbs and was rushed to Santa Casa de Misericordia di Ribeirà Preto Hospital. He was diagnosed with an ascending progressive paralysis known as Landry’s paralysis or Guillain-Barré syndrome. Within a few weeks the paralysis worsened and spread, resulting in acute respiratory failure. It eventually reached the glottis, causing great difficulty in swallowing.

The prognosis was fatal in view of the seriousness of the condition and the limited medical options for a cure which were available at that time. When the paralysis reached the throat, the doctors discontinued treatments. On March 20 the patient was having great difficulty breathing and was barely able to swallow his own saliva. The doctors informed the family that he would not survive the night. With that news the patient’s wife, Angelina Oliva, sought out Sr. Adelina Alves Barbos to ask for prayers. The sister gave her a novena to Mother Clelia along with a holy card containing a piece of fabric from the veil that Mother Clelia wore. Sr. Adelina, together with Angelina, her children, and other family members, immediately began praying. Sr. Adelina approached the sick man and gave him a cup of water in which she had placed the tiny relic. Although he was gravely ill, he managed to take some of the water. After a few minutes, those present noticed that he was able to swallow and was no longer losing saliva. Sr. Adelina tried giving him a spoonful of water, and he drank it. She then put a small amount of water in a cup and had him drink that. Then she poured some milk in a glass and gave it to him, and he drank it without any problem.

Everyone was amazed at the sudden improvement, so much so, that the sister went to the kitchen to prepare some custard. Pedro Ângelo swallowed it easily. When the doctor on call arrived in the morning and saw the patient cured, he exclaimed that it was a miracle. Pedro Ângelo continued to improve, and within three weeks he was walking normally. On May 6 he was released from the hospital for his healing was complete, permanent, and without relapse or signs of any symptoms. The doctor died on September 25, 1976, of cardiac arrest, thus from a completely different cause, 25 years after his miraculous cure.