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Vatican takes step toward making teen youngest contemporary person declared a saint

A teenager who died of leukemia is one step closer to becoming the youngest contemporary person to be declared a saint.

Pope Francis authorized the beatification of Carlo Acutis, who died at age 15 in 2006, meaning he can be referred to as “blessed.” He was beatified in Assisi, Italy, on Saturday.

Beatification is the second to last step toward sainthood and occurs after the pope recognizes that one miracle has been confirmed in the person’s name, The Guardian noted

The Vatican labeled Acutis as a “computer genius with a love for the Eucharist,” according to CNN. He is known for developing a website that tracked Eucharistic miracles, which more than 10,000 parishes around the world have used. 

Acutis was born in London in 1991 before his family moved to Milan, and the Vatican says he was religious from a young age, even though his mother had only been to Mass “three times … in her life.”

He has been connected to one approved miracle: when a 7-year-old Brazilian boy was cured of a rare pancreatic disease after encountering one of Acutis’s T-shirts, according to The Guardian. A priest also prayed to Acutis for the young child. 

Another recognized miracle is required for Acutis to reach sainthood, but Pope Francis has waived that mandate in certain cases. 

Francis celebrated Acutis’s beatification in his Angelus on Sunday, saying the teenager serves as a sign to young people that “true happiness comes from putting God first.”

“His testimony shows today’s young people that true happiness is found by putting God first and serving people, especially among the poorest in society,” the pope said. 

Antonia Salzano, Acutis’s mother, told the newspaper Corriere della Sera that she knew her son was a saint when he was alive after he “cured a woman from cancer by praying to the Madonna of Pompeii,” according to The Guardian.

It is uncommon for minors to be declared saints, but two Portuguese shepherd children who lived during the early 1900s who said they saw the Virgin Mary were named saints in 2017, NPR noted.

Tags beatification Catholic Catholic Church Pope Pope Francis Religion saint sainthood The Vatican Vatican
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