Mother Emilie Gamelin's Cause of Beatification
A cause of beatification is part of the formal process by which a deceased person may be named a saint (canonized) in the Roman Catholic Church. A cause is a lengthy and complicated process, carried out at several levels within the church.
Each step requires involvement and approval of the candidate's home diocese; consultants within the church, such as theologians or physicians; and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (a panel of cardinals, bishops, and others), before approval is granted by the Pope.
The cause of beatification of Mother Émilie Gamelin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence, is based in the Diocese of Montreal, Quebec. It is coordinated by the Reverend James Fitzpatrick, OMI, Postulator, and Sister Thérèse Frigon, SP, Vice-Postulator, who has been involved in the process for more than forty years. (See chronology of the process.)
There are three main steps toward sainthood: declaration of Venerability, Beatification, and Canonization. A person who is declared Venerable is recognized by the church as having lived a saintly life and practiced the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity (and others) to a "heroic degree." Mother Gamelin was named Venerable in 1993.
Mother Gamelin's cause has now reached the second step in the process, Beatification. Before a person is beatified, the church must determine that God has worked a miracle through the intercession of the Venerable one. The miraculous healing attributed to Mother Gamelin's intercession occurred in 1983 and was accepted as authentic by the Pope in December 2000.
On October 7, 2001, Mother Gamelin was beatified during a solemn ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and is now known as Blessed Émilie Gamelin. She is honored each year in the Catholic liturgy on September 23.
It is possible that Mother Gamelin will someday be canonized, and recognized as a saint for the universal church; this would require documentation of another miracle worked through her intercession. Many who are beatified are never canonized, but this does not diminish their role as models for people of faith.