VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Moving four candidates closer to beatification, Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of a bishop in communist-controlled Romania and the heroic virtues of three religious women: one born in the United States, one Irish and one Italian.

The recognition of the martyrdom of Bishop Anton Durcovici of Iasi, Romania, in 1951 clears the way for his beatification, a step toward sainthood.

Recognizing the heroic virtues of the three religious women Oct. 31, Pope Francis declared them venerable. A miracle attributed to their intercession still is needed before they can be beatified.


Mother Celestine Bottego, founder of the Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary, was born Dec. 20, 1895, in Glendale, Ohio. She lived in Butte, Mont., until she was almost 15, and then moved with her mother to Italy.

She was teaching English at a school run by the Xaverian Fathers when one of them, Father Giacomo Spagnolo, asked her to consider forming a women’s branch of the order. After her initial hesitation and a period of prayer, she formed the congregation in 1944. She died in Italy in 1980 at the age of 84.

Pope Francis also declared venerable Sister Honora “Nano” Nagle, the Irish founder of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Born in Ballygriffin in 1718, she was educated in France and entered religious life there. But she left at the age of 32, returning to Ireland to care for and educate the children of the poor. She founded the Presentation Sisters in 1775 and died in 1784.

The fourth decree signed by the pope recognized the heroic virtues of Sister Olga Gugelmo, one of the first members of an Italy-based religious order, the Daughters of the Church. Born in Vicenza in 1910, she died in Mestre in 1943.