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Examining a Life

Liber scriptus proferetur,
in quo totum continetur,
unde mundus judicetur.

Then shall be brought forth the written book, in which everything is contained; wherefrom the world shall be judged.

from the text of the Requiem Mass

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Processus Beatificationis et
Canonizationis illustrissimi servi Dei
Fratris Iosephi a Leonessa
Congregationis Cappuccini

The book you see here, now kept in a glass case in the Sanctuary of S. Giuseppe in Leonessa, is a summary record of the beatification and canonization process of Eufranio Desideri, in religion Fr. Joseph of Leonessa.

When a Catholic dies with a reputation for holiness of life, the Church has for several centuries customarily started gathering information about them as soon as possible after their death, while the people who knew them are still living. So, the fact-finding process opened in Spoleto almost immediately after Fr. Joseph's death on Feb. 4, 1612, to be suspended in 1615; it was reopened in 1628. Further inquiries were undertaken in Ascoli Piceno and Rieti. The official pontifical court of inquiry into the facts of his life was held in Leonessa in two stages, in 1629‑1633 and 1639‑1641. All these findings of fact were certified in 1669‑1670. Then all these bare facts and affidavits were carefully examined, including reports of miracles thru his intercession; but mostly, as is required, everything the man ever wrote: dozens of notebooks, sermon notes and sermons. Once all these records had been parsed and their interpretation argued over, and it was ascertained that the servant of God — as a candidate for sainthood is usually referred to — had led an exemplary, saintly life of more than ordinary virtue, he was beatified by Clement XII on June 22, 1737. Canonization followed rather quickly, by Benedict XIV on June 29, 1746.

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Page updated: 4 Jul 04