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Rome Reports

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Lay people in process of beatification: The stories of Angelica, Marta, Enrique and Carlo

Carlo Acutis, Angelica Tiraboschi, Chiara Corbella and Chiara Luce, were in the prime of their youth and faced their illness with courage.

Marta Obregón's story is another dramatic story. In the process of a failed rape attempt, she was inflicted with 14 stab wounds and fatally injured.

Enrique Shaw was an entrepreneur who was successful amid the challenge of effectively combining his work, personal and spiritual life.

Both their beatification process is now well underway. A common factor linking all of them is that they were lay people who were not martyrs. They were average everyday people without much political power or social influence. However, nonetheless their short lives had a profound impact on friends and family.

Father of Angelica Tiraboschi
"For me Angelica was a daughter, of course. However, she could also be my mother, my sister, a friend, my grandmother, my aunt, my cousin ... This is because she had such an intense spiritual life.” “What has Angelica taught me? To grow, because before you begin to truly live, you have to first know how to grow. To be formed, to live, to believe and to die with courage."

Stories continue to arrive in Rome, of laity, whose exemplary lives could see them before the facade of St. Peter's Basilica 

For this reason, the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome has dedicated a day to reflect on the significance of the laity's contribution to the Church. 

Theologian, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
"There are many paths to holiness and they are suited to the vocation of each and every Christian, even for the laity".

Postulator of the Cause for Chiara Corbella
“God makes Himself known through the saints. This is to say they are not just an example that makes us say 'how nice', but their life cannot be replicated. I have mine, you have yours. Chiara had her own life and ideally we should not live her life, but rather learn from it. Many religious and priests learn by reading about these people's lives."

Rediscovering the value of the laity was one of the priorities for the Church in the wake of the Second Vatican Council.

There have indeed been many lay people canonized, but largely on account of their martyrdom. A notable example being the canonization of the 800 Otranto martyrs, canonized by Pope Francis. 

However, for decades now, the Vatican has been studying many accounts of lay men and women with simple but profound lives, without external light but rather shining from within.