Swiss Secular Franciscan Is Canonized

Swiss Secular Franciscan Marguerite Bays was elevated to sainthood on Oct. 13, 2019, along with four others.

 A native of Siviriez in the western Swiss canton of Fribourg, Bays belonged to the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi. Born in 1815, she was a laywoman from a farming background who dedicated herself to God. She worked as a seamstress, domestic help and farmhand but was known in the region for helping the poor, domestic servants and orphans. For 19 years, she had the stigmata and died in 1879. 

In January 2019, the Vatican recognised a second miracle attributed to her, opening the door to canonization: A two-year-old girl was run over by a tractor but escaped unharmed. Her grandfather, who had witnessed the incident, had invoked Bays to save his granddaughter’s life.  

“She is a very simple woman, with an ordinary life, in whom each of us can find ourselves. She did not achieve anything extraordinary, and yet her existence was a long silent march in the way of holiness,” said Pope John Paul II on her beatification in 1995

Four other blessed were canonized on Oct. 13:

• Cardinal John Henry Newman of England, one of the most prominent converts to Catholicism from Anglicanism of the 19th century.

• Sister Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan of India, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family.

• Italian Sister Giuseppina Vannini, founder of the Daughters of Saint Camillus.

• Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God.

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