VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis formally recognized that French De La Salle Brother Victorino Arnaud Pages, who dedicated his life to establishing schools and alumni associations in the United States and the Caribbean, lived the Christian virtues in a holy way.

The pope also advanced the sainthood causes of seven other candidates — including a 9-year-old Brazilian boy — during a meeting April 6 with Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.

Born in Onzillon, France, in 1885, Brother Victorino carried most of his ministry in Cuba and founded several Cuban Catholic youth associations, which inspired many young men and women to enter the priesthood and religious life.

He also established several La Salle Alumni Associations in New York and Miami as well as Puerto Rico, where he lived for five years before his death in 1966. The pope’s recognition of Brother Victorino’s heroic virtues is an early step in the sainthood process.

Pope Francis also recognized a miracle attributed to Venerable Donizetti Tavares de Lima, a Brazilian priest who was revered by many for his ministry to abandoned children and elderly people, establishing homes for their care. The miracle clears the way for his beatification.

In other decrees signed April 6, Pope Francis recognized the heroic virtues of:

— Italian Father Carlo Cavina, founder of the Daughters of St. Francis de Sales. He was born in 1820 and died in 1880.

— Italian Capuchin Father Raffaele da Sant’Elia a Pianisi, who died in 1901.

— Italian Capuchin Father Damiano da Bozzano. He was born in 1898 and died in Brazil in 1997.

— Capuchin Poor Clare Sister Consolata Betrone, who was born in Italy in 1903 and died in 1946.

— Nelson Santana, a Brazilian boy who died Dec. 24, 1964, at the age of 9. Before his death, Santana told his parish priest that Jesus wanted to spend Christmas with him. Since then, his grave has become a place of pilgrimage.

— Gaetana “Nuccia” Tolomeo, born in Italy in 1936 and known for her witness of faith while suffering a degenerative form of paralysis. She died in 1997.