This weekend clergy from Rome will hear the case for Charlene Richard to be considered for sainthood. Charlene Richard, known affectionately as “The Little Cajun Saint,” was an Acadia Parish middle school student and athlete who died at the age of twelve in 1959, just two weeks after being diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia– which at that time was a death sentence. While hospitalized, she offered her suffering to God in prayers for others. Those who were close to her say her attitude through it all was an example for us all.
For 30 years, thousands of people have come to Charlene Richard’s grave for an annual commemorative mass, and Saturday the Diocese of Lafayette will officially open the “Cause for Canonization”, which is the first step toward possibly making her a real saint.
On Thursday, individuals will meet with clergy in Richard, Louisiana to share stories and miracles attributed to Charlene.
Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of the Diocese of Lafayette will officially open the “Cause for Canonization” of Miss Charlene Richard at a 10 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at Immaculata Chapel in Lafayette. During the January 11 ceremony, Bishop Deshotel will officially accept each petition from representatives of the candidates’ supporters and will sign separate decrees on the Immaculata Chapel altar, officially opening the Cause for Beatification/Canonization. At that time, all those involved in the research and investigation of each cause will take an oath of office. Included in the oath of office is the Postulator, the Catholic canon lawyer appointed to guide and oversee the Cause.
At the news conference following the ceremony, which will be held in the John XXIII conference room of the Diocese of Lafayette Central Offices at 1408 Carmel Drive, Bishop Deshotel will deliver a brief statement and spokespersons for each of the candidates will be available to answer questions. Press packets will also be distributed to provide additional resources and biographical information on each of the candidates. For more information on how the Catholic Church chooses saints, go to http://usccb.org/about/public-affairs/backgrounders/saints-backgrounder.cfm.
It is important to understand that Saturday’s ceremony is not a beatification or canonization, but the first official step in the extensive and multifaceted process involved in that journey.