Step four towards beatification

Servant of God Dorothea Visser

Things are moving fast now in the process towards the beatification of Servant of God Dorothea Visser. Yesterday saw the installation of the ecclesiastical court that is to analyse and judge her life and virtues. The three-man court consists of a delegatus episcopalis (delegate of the bishop), a promoter iustitae (promotor of justice) and a notarius (secretary). This is the fourth step towards a possible future beatification, following the judgement of a miracle, the appointment of a postulator in Rome and the creation of a historical commission.

Archbishop Eijk of Utrecht, the archdiocese in which Dorothea Visser lived, and which therefore is responsible for the proceedings, offered the following prayer at the start of the installation of the court:

God our Father,
You are a God of mercy and Love.

We have come together here to open the Process of Beatification
of the Servant of God

She was a dedicated and obliging woman,
who suffered and prayed much.
Who shared in a special way
in the suffering of Your Son Jesus Christ
through her stigmata.

She dedicated this suffering for the conversion of sinner
And the sanctification of Your Church.

We ask you,
May she soon be elevated to the honour of the altars
through a beatification.

We thank you for the witness
of Dorothea Visser
Through Christ our Lord.

Our Father…

Fr. Frenk Schyns takes the oath

Appointed to the court are Msgr. Dr. Stefaan van Calster, priest of the Archdiocese of Mechlin-Brussels and professor at Rolduc Seminary; Father Frenk Schyns, vice-head of the ecclesiastical court of the Archdiocese of Utrecht and the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, and priest of the former; and Dr. A. Habets, delegate for Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Utrecht.

In addition to this court, Msgr. Jan van Peijnenburg has been added to the historical commission as additional expert. Msgr. van Peijnenburg is the former archivist of the Diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

Msgr. Van Calster invites anyone with useful information regarding the beatification to approach the court. The official address to write to is:

Kerkelijke rechtbank inzake zaligverklaringsproces Dorothea Visser
attn. Mgr. dr. S. van Calster, delegatus episcopalis
p/a Maliebaan 38-40
3581 CR  Utrecht

Towards the altars – the case of Dora Visser progresses

More than a year ago I wrote about the appointment of Msgr. Karel Kasteel, former secretary of “Cor Unum”, as postulator for the beatification phase of Dora Visser and Alfons Ariëns. The process of the former is now making headway.

On Monday Archbishop Wim Eijk swore in a  three-member historical commission tasked with conducting a historical investigation of the life of Servant of God Dora Visser and create a written report, which will be used to establish the vita documentata. The aim of that work is to demonstrate the virtuous life of a candidate for beatification.

The historical commission is pictured above with the archbishop (centre), Auxiliary Bishop Hoogenboom (behind him) and chancellor Zuijdwijk (second from left). They are chairman  H.H.M. Jansen (left), secretary M.L.N.M Rijmers (right) and general member L.A.M. Schulte (second from right).

Auxiliary Bishop Theodorus Hoogenboom, the archdiocese reports, is working to create an ecclesiastical court for the beatification process which is to conduct a trial on the diocesan level about life and virtues of Dora Visser. A similar court took the first steps towards possible beatification in 2005. Msgr. Hoogenboom hopes to have the court in place before the summer.

Photo credit: Archdiocese of Utrecht

Small steps closer to beatification

Msgr. Karel Kasteel is the most senior Dutch prelate in the Vatican and works as the secretary of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and Dean of the Apostolic Chamber. Last week he given another job, loftily called postulator of the apostolic phase in the beatification processes of Alphons Ariëns and Dora Visser. Archbishop Wim Eijk had suggested Msgr. Kasteel for that role and the Holy See agreed.

I met Msgr. Kasteel once; a very jovial man and a storyteller.

In his new function, he will have to provide evidence that the would-be beatified people heroically displayed Christian virtues, and will have to provide evidence of any miracles achieved on their intercession.

Fr. Alphons Ariëns

The process for Father Alphons Ariëns started seriously in 2005, when the Archdiocese of Utrecht invited people to come forward with testimonies. Father Ariëns (1860-1928) was a priest of the archdiocese who fought for improved workers’ conditions in the textile mills of Twente, and also combatted alcohol abuse.

Dora Visser

Dora, or Dorothea, Visser (1819-1876) was a mystic, partly paralysed from youth and suffered the stigmata since 1843. In 2005, a diocesan court judged that a man was cured in 1999 on her intercession. A vita documentata, an account of her life, is being collected to be sent on to Rome, when the final decision must be made.

The entire process of beatification is an intricate and interesting one, which sometimes can take decades. Let’s hope, at the very least for Msgr. Kasteel’s sake, that it won’t take as long in these two cases.