During October, the New Zealand bishops met in Rome for their Ad Limina Apostolorum visit.
On Wednesday, 23 October, they met Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to discuss the process for Suzanne Aubert. The Congregation manages the process of saints’ causes, including beatifications and canonisations. It is also in charge of preserving relics.
In attendance were Bishop Patrick Dunn (Auckland, President NZ Catholic Bishops Conference), Cardinal John Dew (Wellington, Vice President NZCBC), Bishop Stephen Lowe (Hamilton, General Secretary NZCBC). Bishop Paul Martin SM (Christchurch) and Bishop Michael Dooley (Dunedin).
Bishop Stephen Lowe said, ‘During our ad limina visit to Rome the New Zealand Bishops visited the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Our greatest interest in visiting this Congregation was to speak with Cardinal Becciu and the staff about the Cause of Venerable Suzanne Aubert. Cardinal Becciu was once the Secretary at the Apostolic Nunciature in New Zealand, and because he lived very close to Island Bay he knew the Sisters of Compassion and the story of Suzanne Aubert.
‘We found it a very positive visit and the Cardinal and his assistants seemed very positive. They were able to tell us that the “Heroic Virtues” of Suzanne have been approved and that they are very pleased with the Diocesan Enquiry into a miracle. The extensive account of the possible miracle is now being translated and will then be looked at by two medical experts. If one of the two is positive about this account, it will then be referred to a Medical Board. If that in turn is positive a Theological Commission will then examine it, then the members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints will also look at approving it.
‘If all of that proceeds it will then be sent to the Holy Father for approval, and New Zealand will have its first “Blessed”. No timeline has been given for this, and it could still take quite some time. However, we were assured that the Congregation are taking particular interest in this case. Cardinal Becciu actually said to us he is very interested in going back to New Zealand and hopes this will happen in his time as Prefect.
‘As the New Zealand Bishops we were very well received at the Congregation and came away feeling very hopeful. In the meantime, we continue to pray for the Cause of “Our Mother Suzanne”. Please join us in prayer for this Cause.’