The Process of the Beatification of Mother Alphonse Marie Eppinger is in its final stage. After the recognition of the miracle through her intercession, the case will definitely be closed by the solemn act of Beatification. The celebration will take place on Sunday, September 9, 2018 at 2:30 PM, in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Strasburg, France by Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
The significant moments, which led to this historical event and the preparation for the celebration of Beatification brought for the Vatican Radio Sister Katarína Krištofová, Postulator of the case and the member of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer. As Postulator, she has been working on this case for 14 years:
“The case began on January 29, 1951, when the process in Strasburg was opened. The case was interrupted several times or stopped for many reasons, but never by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. It has been my pleasure to be able to work on this case since 2003. On October 31, 2003 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints confirmed my mandate for this task. It took almost 14 years.”
The miracle, examined and confirmed by the Church, happened in France in 1955. An elderly woman was healed from a serious condition of bowel obstruction before the surgeons surrendered. Sister Katarína Krištofová briefly describes the case:
“The miracle occurred on May 29, 1955 in Mulhouse, France, in the hospital where the Sisters of Mother Alphonse Marie worked. A 66-year old woman was seriously ill with a bowel obstruction. This illness can even be deadly today, if a person does not receive proper health care. The person mentioned above underwent two surgeries within five days without significant improvement. In the evening on the fifth day, when doctors have given up any hope of healing, the Sisters began to pray very modestly to Mother Alphonse Marie. The next morning it was obvious that the patient was feeling better. In a few days, she was completely healed, even though surgeons removed 173/4 inches of her bowel. After this miracle, the woman lived for 19 more years and this illness never returned, so the healing was sudden, complete, and permanent.”
Promulgation the Decree about the miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Servant of God approved Holy Father, Pope Francis, on January 26, 2018. The Postulator of the case explains: “Work on this miracle was not easy because neither the healed woman nor the witnesses were alive. This is the reason that it took several years until the case was closed.”
Mother Alphonse Marie came from the Diocese of Strasburg and is buried in the same Diocese, in Oberbronn, Alsace. Beatification will be significant for all of the Strasburg Diocese. However, the family of the Sisters, Associates, and lay people, who see Mother Alphonse Marie as their Foundress will be the most intensively touched. This family is formed by the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Savior and two other sisterly Congregations: Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer based in Rome and the Congregation of the Sisters of the Redeemer based in Würzburg, as well as Associates and followers of the charism of the future Blessed.
According to the words of Sister Katarína Krištofová, who was, until last year, the Superior General of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer, the prayer for the Beatification has recently unified all three branches originated from the foundation of Mother Alphonse Marie. At the occasion of the jubilee anniversaries of Mother Alphonse Marie’s birth and death days (September 9, 1814 – July 31, 1867), the spiritual activities took different forms, for example the Novena for the Beatification.
Sister Katarína, as a Postulator, still has much work to do. Her task is also to prepare reliquary with remains of the candidate for the Beatification which will be exposed to public veneration during the solemn act of Beatification. She said that the reliquary will be made of pink stone, typical of the area and will symbolize Mother Alphonse Marie, who is a precious gem extracted from the Alsatian ground. The common gift – reliquary – of the three Congregations to the Diocese of Strasburg will remain permanently in the Cathedral for the believers, who will come to pray and ask for the intercession of the new Blessed.
Another task of the Postulator is to prepare the Liturgical texts for the celebration of Beatification. Sister Katarína explains: “The celebration will take place in Strasburg. This means that the prior language will be French, yet, because we are spread in 16 countries and in 68 dioceses in the world, the readings, intercessions, hymns, etc. will also be in languages of our Congregations. Everyone who will attend Beatification will hear their language.”
Prepared by: Jozef Bartkovjak SJ for Radio Vatican