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Bid to beatify congregation founder, auxiliary bishop

Mgr Emmanuel Galea

Mgr Emmanuel Galea

Archbishop Joseph Mercieca has announced the start of the beatification processes of Mgr Emmanuel Galea, a longtime auxiliary bishop, and Madre Marija Teresa Nuzzo, founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart.

In a writ issued by the Curia yesterday, Mgr Mercieca requested any writings by Bishop Galea and Madre Marija Teresa to be handed over to the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archbishop's Curia in Valletta.

The Curia said these writings could include printed matter, manuscripts, diaries and letters.

Mgr Charles Scicluna is the postulator of the two causes.

For more than 30 years, Mgr Galea was auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Malta.

He was born on March 10, 1891, and was the youngest of the five children of Guzeppi Galea and Carmela, nèe Camilleri.

He was ordained priest on December 18, 1915, together with his brother Fr Frangisk. The Galeas had a third priest in the family.

After he studied Canon Law at the Gregorian University in Rome, Mgr Galea returned to Malta and was appointed Vicar General in 1940.

In June, 1942, Mgr Galea was nominated Titular Bishop of Tralles and Auxiliary Bishop of Malta. He was consecrated Bishop at the Mdina Cathedral on July 5, 1942.

Mgr Galea was appointed director of the Jesus of Nazareth Institute in Zejtun, a post he held until his death on August 21, 1974.

The writ described Mgr Galea as a humble man; a man of prayer, an apostle of the confessional and an assiduous preacher.

Madre Marija Teresa was born in Valletta on May 12, 1851, to Pawlu Nuzzo and Louisa Marrocchi. When she was 21 she took the votes of chastity, poverty and obedience from Mgr Pietru Pace whom she had earlier chosen as her spiritual director.

For many years Madre Marija Teresa felt the call to set up a new religious congregation with the aim of helping in the academic and spiritual education of children at a time when education was not yet obligatory. At the age 16 she used to run her aunt's school, after the latter was losing her eyesight.

She eventually set up the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart on November 21, 1903 and became the first Superior General.

According to the Archbishop's writ, in 1918 her Congregation passed through difficult times and Madre Marija Teresa herself was unjustly accused of not giving her nuns enough food.

Following an investigation ordered by Archbishop Mauro Caruana, she was removed from the office of Superior General and the congregation was placed under the responsibility of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart. It was during these moments that Madre Marija Teresa excelled in heroic virtues.

She continued to suffer humiliation in silence until she died on April 17, 1923.

Following her death her heroic virtues were recognised and her Congregation started spreading in various parts of the world. Besides the nine houses in Malta, the congregation has houses in Italy, Ireland, Kenja, Libya, Tunis and India.

In May, 2001, the Pope beatified the founder of the MUSEUM Society Dun Gorg Preca, the Benedictine nun Maria Adeodata Pisani and cleric Nazju Falzon in Malta.

To begin a cause for beatification and canonisation, the candidate must have been dead for at least five years to allow greater balance and objectivity in evaluating the case and to allow the emotions of the moment to dissipate.

The cause begins after a postulator asks for the opening of the investigation.

Witnesses are called before a tribunal to recount concrete facts on the exercise of Christian virtues considered heroic.

In addition, all documents regarding the candidate must be gathered. At this point the candidate is entitled to the title of Servant of God.

Once the investigation is finished, the acts and documentation are passed to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

The documentation, known as the positio, undergoes an examination by nine theologians who each cast a vote. The congregation presents the results of the entire course of the cause to the Pope who grants his approval and authorises the congregation to draft the relative decree.

For beatification a miracle attributed to the Servant of God, verified after his death, is necessary.

Once the two decrees are promulgated, regarding heroic values and the miracle, the Pope decides on beatification which gives the candidate the title of Blessed.

For canonisation another miracle is required.

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