VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has recognized the martyrdom of De
La Salle Christian Brother James Miller, who was born in Wisconsin and
was shot to death in Guatemala in 1982.
The recognition of the martyrdom of Brother James, or Brother
Santiago as he also was known, clears the way for his beatification; the
date and location of the ceremony were not immediately announced.
Publishing news about a variety of sainthood causes Nov. 8, the
Vatican said Pope Francis had recognized as "blessed" a 15th-century
Augustinian brother, Michael Giedrojc.
The recognition amounted to the "equivalent beatification" of Brother
Giedrojc, who was born in Lithuania and died in Krakow. With the pope
recognizing that over the course of centuries the brother has been
venerated by thousands of Catholics, the normal process leading to
beatification is not needed.
Brother Miller, the U.S. martyr, was born Sept. 21, 1944, in Stevens
Point, Wisconsin. He met the Christian Brothers at Pacelli High School
there and, at the age of 15, entered the order's juniorate in Missouri.
After the novitiate, he taught Spanish, English and religion at Cretin
High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, for three years. He also was in
charge of school maintenance and served as the football coach.
Some websites refer to him as "Brother Fix-it" and an icon featured
on the website of the Christian Brothers of the Midwest shows him
In 1969, he was sent to Nicaragua, where he taught and helped build
schools. According to the De La Salle Brother's website, "His religious
superiors ordered him to leave Nicaragua in July 1979 during the time of
the Sandinista revolution. It was feared that since he worked for the
Somoza government, he might be at risk."
Returning to the United States, he again taught at Cretin High
School. But in January 1981, he was sent to Guatemala, where he taught
at a secondary school in Huehuetenango and at a center that helped young
indigenous people learn job and leadership skills.
While on a ladder making repairs to the building on the afternoon of
Feb. 13, 1982, he was shot several times by three hooded men and died
instantly. No one was ever arrested for his murder. Funeral services
were held in Guatemala and in St. Paul before he was buried in Polonia,
In other decrees published Nov. 8, Pope Francis recognized miracles
attributed to the intercession of Edvige Carboni and Benedetta Bianchi
Porro, meaning both Italian laywomen can be beatified. Carboni died in
1952; Porro died in 1964.
The pope also recognized the martyrdom of more victims of the Spanish
civil war: Angel Cuartas Cristobal and eight of his classmates at the
seminary in Oviedo, who were killed between 1934 and 1937; and Mariano
Mullerat Soldevila, a physician, husband and father killed in 1936.
In 10 other causes for canonization, Pope Francis signed decrees
recognizing that the candidates for sainthood lived the Christian
virtues in a heroic way, which is the first step toward beatification.
The decrees included the cause of Bishop Alfredo Maria Obviar of Lucena,
Philippines, founder of the Missionary Catechists of St. Therese of the
Infant Jesus. The bishop died in 1978.