On January 21, 2011, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph celebrated the formal opening of the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey. At Solemn Vespers at the Cathedral, members of the team who would work on the Process were sworn in, and we prayed for the light and the help of the Holy Spirit. What a joy to read and study about the life of a wonderful and holy woman who gave her life in service to the sick and poor, and who became an instrument in the finding of Mary’s House in Ephesus. There, a million people each year – most of them Muslims! – come to pray and honor Mary. It all takes place on a hill overlooking the ancient city of Ephesus where, in 431 A.D., the Council of Ephesus proclaimed Mary as “Mother of God.”
Over the last years, a special tribunal within the Diocese conducted interviews here in Kansas City, in Turkey, and in New York. We studied archival information from France and Turkey, and completed a timeline of Sr. Marie’s life and work. A book written by the late Vincentian Father Carl Schulte, who lived and worked in Kansas City, was extraordinarily helpful in constructing the biography.
On September 13, 2014, (Sister Marie was born on September 13, 1837) the first phase of the Process will be concluded in a Mass and ceremony to take place at 4:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. All the transcripts, biographical materials, findings and recommendations will be sealed and notarized – and then sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome.
I felt very privileged when our Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was asked to participate in a Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of a woman who died 100 years ago half way around the world. It occasionally happens that a diocesan bishop may be expected to participate in the Cause of a holy man or woman who lived or died in the bishop’s local diocese. Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey was an extraordinary woman who never visited Kansas City, or the United States. Sr. Marie was a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul. The Daughters of Charity have been an important part of the history of our diocese in both St. Joseph and Kansas City.
Who is Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey?
Sr. Marie was born of nobility in France in 1837. She joined the Daughters of Charity in 1858. She was professed in 1862. She died in Smyrna, Turkey in 1915. Sr. Marie was a devout Religious who gave up her status and wealth to care for the poor. She served as a nurse in France. In 1886, she was assigned to the French Naval Hospital at Smyrna. She became superior of the house and was dedicated to the care of the sick and children. During the time Sr. Marie served in Turkey, she was instrumental in identifying and procuring the House of Mary in Ephesus. Mary’s Home at Ephesus has become a place of pilgrimage for millions of people every year, the majority of whom are Muslims. Pope’s Benedict XVI, John Paul II, and Paul VI, have all celebrated Mass there. The process of the cause has attempted to investigate the heroic sanctity of Sr. Marie, and present this for consideration by the Church.
Why is this cause being considered in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph?
In the Fall of 2008 I participated in a pilgrimage to Meryem Ana Evi, or “Mary’s House” in Ephesus, Turkey. I traveled with faithful from Kansas City and various places in the U.S. During that visit I met Mrs. Erin Von Uffel of New York, who had studied the life of Sr. Marie and had worked with the Archbishop Emeritus of Smyrna (modern day Izmir), Most Reverend Giuseppe Bernardini, to research the life and work of Sr. Marie. While I was in Turkey, I met with Erin and the current Archbishop of Izmir, Ruggero Franceschini. In this meeting Erin encouraged the Archbishop to promote Sr. Marie’s cause. In February of 2010, I was formally petitioned by Archbishop Franceschini to assist with the cause, given the insufficient personnel and other resources of the Archdiocese in Turkey. After a series of discussions and prayerful considerations, I accepted the request of the Archbishop of Smyrna, and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was granted, jurisdiction by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for this initiative.
After having received the support of our neighboring bishops in Missouri and Kansas, the Superior General of the Daughters of Charity, the Archbishop of Dijon, France, where Sr. Marie was born, and the Presbyteral Council of our Diocese, I nominated a postulator and formally requested permission to “open the cause.” Dr. Andrea Ambrosi of Rome is the postulator, the person who will oversee the whole process and bring the case before the Vatican, and has worked on many such causes. He explains that, “a beatification cause involves a years-long process of examination of the candidate’s life, virtues, writings, reputation for holiness, and reputation for intercession.” When a candidate’s cause is opened, that person is called a Servant of God. After the Servant of God’s heroic virtue has been proven, he or she is declared “venerable.” Then, to be beatified, one miracle must be attributed to the Venerable’s intercession. Finally, a second miracle is needed for canonization. Dr. Ambrosi said, “The Church’s criteria for accepting a miracle are very rigorous.”
When did the Process begin?
After gathering initial data and assigning people to the responsibilities for the work, the opening of the cause for Sr. Marie took place on Friday evening, January 21, 2011, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City. A number of the family members of Sr. Marie were present, as was Bishop Boland, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, and Archbishop Bernardini, Emeritus of Smyrna.
All are invited.
Conclusion of the Diocesan Phase: Cause of Beatification and Canonization
Servant of God, Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey
4:30 p.m. Mass, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Saturday, September 13, 2014
As we approach this special event marking the completion of the first phase, I invite everyone to consider attending this historic event – the first such Cause formally undertaken by the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
Sr. Marie was a holy woman who lived her life humbly in God’s service. Please pray for God’s blessing on this ongoing work. A prayer card for Sr. Marie is provided here. We continue to seek favors and “miracles” through her intercession. Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey, intercede for us.
Memorial Mass for Bishop Boland
I also invite everyone to the Memorial Mass for Bishop Raymond Boland, Fifth Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, to be celebrated on March 25, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 12th and Broadway. A reception will follow at the Catholic Center, 9th and Baltimore.