Official Statement

Official Statement from our Superior General, Mother Miriam Cunha Sobrinha

Pope Francis signs the decree for the miracle of Mother Clelia 
With great joy and gratitude to God I announce to the entire Congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to our coworkers, families, friends, and all who share our charism that, at the Ordinary Session of Cardinals and Bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, held on January 9, 2018, the miracle attributed to the intercession of our Foundress, Mother Clelia Merloni, was recognized with a unanimous affirmative vote. With this, the path to her beatification has been cleared. The only remaining step is the establishment of the date of the celebration by Pope Francis. 

This was the final phase of the process of recognizing the miracle under examination by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which took place in Brazil in 1951. The diocesan process was held in the Vicariate of Rome from January 25, 2005, to April 11, 2011. During that period five eyewitnesses gave their oral testimonies: Sr. Delurds Vendramin, Sr. Ricarda Moretti (Aparecida), Fr. Ernesto Ferrero of the Priests of the Christian Doctrine, Sr. Maria Luiza Luca, and Sr. Maria da Glória de Oliveira. In addition, 14 written declarations from individuals who had followed the illness and healing of the Brazilian doctor Pedro Ângelo de Oliveira Filho were included in the documentation. On February 23, 2017, the Medical Council convened and gave a favorable opinion, and on the following June 27, the Special Congress of Theologians offered the same opinion. 

The story of the miracle dates back to March 14, 1951, when the Brazilian doctor was stricken suddenly by a progressive paralysis of all four limbs and was rushed to Santa Casa de Misericordia di Ribeirà o Preto Hospital. He was diagnosed with an ascending progressive paralysis known as Landry’s paralysis or Guillain-Barré syndrome. Within a few weeks, the paralysis worsened and spread, resulting in acute respiratory insufficiency. It finally reached the glottis, causing great difficulty in swallowing. The prognosis was fatal in view of the gravity of the condition and the limited medical options for a cure available at that time. Because by that point the paralysis had reached the throat, the doctors discontinued treatments. On March 20, the patient was having great difficulty breathing and was barely able to swallow his saliva. The doctors informed the family that he would not survive the night. With that news the patient’s wife, Angelina Oliva, sought out Sr. Adelina Alves Barbos to ask for prayers. The sister gave her a novena to Mother Clelia along with a holy card containing a piece of fabric from the veil that Mother Clelia wore. Sr. Adelina, together with Angelina, her children, and other family members, began praying immediately. Sr. Adelina approached the sick man and gave him a cup of water in which she had placed the tiny relic. Although he was gravely ill, he managed to take some of the water. After a few minutes, those present noticed that he was able to swallow and was no longer losing saliva. Sr. Adelina tried giving him a spoonful of water, and he drank it. She then put a small amount of water in a cup and had him drink that. Then she poured some milk in a glass and gave it to him, and he drank it without any problem. Everyone was amazed at the sudden improvement, so much so, that the sister went to the kitchen to prepare some custard. Pedro Ângelo swallowed it easily. When the doctor on call arrived in the morning and saw the patient cured, he exclaimed that it was a miracle.

Pedro Ângelo continued to improve, and within three weeks, he was walking normally. On May 6 he was released from the hospital, for his healing was complete, permanent, and without relapse or signs of any symptoms. The doctor died on September 25, 1976, of cardiac arrest, thus from a completely different cause, 25 years after his miraculous cure. 

Therefore, I invite all of you to unite your prayers to mine to thank the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Virgin Mary for the special grace that they have given us in obtaining the beatification of Mother Clelia.

Madre Miriam Cunha Sobrinha
Superiora Generale