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Brenda Dolphin - Postulator for the Cause for the Canonisation of Catherine McAuley

Download the April 2010 commemoration article celebrating 20 years since Catherine McAuley was declared Venerable 'Venerable 20 years on...'

Download the November 2009 update on the Cause for Canonisation in the following article 'Leaves from the Diary of a Postulator'

Download the March 2009 update on the Cause for Canonisation from Brenda Dolphin rsm in the following article 'A Postulator's Diary'.

Click here to send in a prayer request through the intercession of Catherine McAuley

Sr. Brenda Dolphin outside St. Peter's Basilica in Rome

My name is Brenda Dolphin. I am a Sister of Mercy and work as the Postulator for the Cause of Catherine McAuley. Catherine was declared venerable on the 9th April 1990. Once this happened the work of the cause moved to what is called the Roman phase. This means that the postulator must live in Rome in order to be on hand to work with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints when material about the servant of God is sent in.

In order to work as a postulator I followed the course that is organised each year by the Vatican for postulators which is called the Studium. This course is conducted in Italian, goes on from November to March, and usually has about forty to fifty people following it. In recent years a number of lay people have been following the course and taking up the work of postulator or vice postulator of causes. The course covers the areas of
• The Church’s understanding of holiness
• The history of the study of sainthood in the Church
• The canonical and juridical elements that are involved with beatification and canonisation

When a process for canonisation is initiated the person is called a Servant of God. When all the material about the life and writings of the person has been gathered and ordered into what is called a ’Positio Super Virtutibus’ and examined by a panel of historians and theologians, this results in the person being declared venerable.

For beatification which is the next step on the process to canonisation a miracle is required. This is usually a physical healing that is inexplicable to medical science of the day. After beatification another miracle is required for canonisation. Beatification takes place in the place where the servant of God died. Canonisation usually takes place in Rome.

At present, Catherine McAuley had been declared venerable for the past eighteen years. Since then a number of possible healings have been investigated. Since I started work on the cause as postulator we have looked at seventeen healings - none of which were found to be inexplicable to medical science today. At present we have a case on hand from the USA which seems hopeful but it is early stages yet. We also have another possibility from the Philippines which is also at the very early stages of investigation.

One thing that I have learned over the past 18 months is that there are many graces and favours coming consistently to people through Catherine’s intercession. We await God’s own time for a miracle that will bring her cause forward to the next stage.

There is no doubt that Catherine is with God. Working on the cause is not so much for Catherine’s sake although she is the central person involved. It is rather that the charism which she exemplified so well might be known throughout the universal Church.

View a slide show of Brenda at her work in Rome.

Prayer for the Beatification of Catherine McAuley

CD on the letters of Catherine McAuley - 'Your ever affectionate M.C. McAuley'

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