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13 Jun 2024 6:14
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  •   Home > News > Living & Travel

    Pope Francis clears the way to recognise the first millennial saint, but who is Carlo Acutis?

    Carlo Acutis, who died from cancer at the age of 15 in 2006, could become the first millennial saint after Pope Francis attributed two health-related miracles to him.

    A London-born teenager known as "God's influencer" could become the first millennial saint after two miracles were attributed to him

    Pope Francis has recognised Carlo Acutis, who died of leukaemia in 2006, and has cleared the way for him to become a saint.

    On Thursday, Francis issued a decree following a meeting with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.

    Here's what we know about Carlo Acutis and the miracles that have been attributed to him.

    Who is Carlo Acutis?

    Born in London, Carlo grew up in Milan, Italy, and has been informally dubbed "God's influencer" because he created a website to document and spread word of the Catholic faith.

    The tech-savvy teenager also looked after his parish website.

    He died on October 12, 2006, shortly after being diagnosed with leukaemia.

    His final wish was said to be buried in Assisi — the birthplace of Saint Francis of Assisi.

    Carlo's body was moved to Assisi cemetery one year after his death and is on display there.

    People can visit his tomb to pay tribute and there is also an online live stream of his body. 

    What miracles have been attributed to Carlo?

    The first miracle attributed to Carlo, in 2020, involved healing young Brazilian boy Mattheus Vianna, who was unable to keep down his food due to a serious birth defect.

    According to the Catholic News Agency, Mattheus was cured after touching a relic of Carlo's — reportedly sent by Carlo's mother — at the Chapel of Nossa Senhora Aparecida in Brazil. 

    The miracle occurred around February 2014.

    The second miracle attributed to Carlo is the healing of a woman called Valeria, from Costa Rica, in 2022.

    She sustained a serious head trauma cycling to her university in Florence and required brain surgery.

    According to Vatican News, her mother Liliana prayed at Carlo's tomb and left a letter detailing her pleas after doctors said her daughter had a low chance of survival.

    After Lilana's pleas, Valeria made a miraculous recovery and was discharged from hospital to attend rehab in August of that year, the Vatican News reports. 

    How do you become a saint?

    There are four steps to being named as a saint in the Catholic Church and the process is called canonisation.

    First, a formal request is made to consider the person for sainthood at least five years after their death. In Carlo's case, this happened in 2013.

    Next, the candidate needs to be determined to be virtuous and heroic in their faith. They are then declared "venerable". 

    In July 2018, Pope Francis confirmed Carlo's life as one of heroic value and he was declared venerable.

    The third step to sainthood is beatification, which means the church has proclaimed the person is in heaven and can plead to God on your behalf if you pray to them.

    Carlo was beatified during a ceremony on October 10, 2020.

    The final step to becoming a saint is canonisation, where the Roman Catholic Church officially declares the person to be a saint.

    What happens next?

    There's been no announcement about when Carlo could be elevated to sainthood.

    But it is possible Carlo could be officially recognised as a saint during the Catholic Church's 2025 Jubilee Year, the Catholic News Agency reported.


    © 2024 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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