Pope Benedict XVI will canonize five men and women April 26, including one with a unique connection to Minnesota.
Blessed Nuno di Santa Maria Alvares Pereira was a lay member of the Portuguese Order of Friars of the Blessed Sacrament in the 15th century, and the only organization in the English-speaking world dedicated to him is headquartered in Duluth.
The Blessed Nuno Society is a mission society and prayer apostolate that works to support orphaned and homeless children — a cause that was close to Blessed Nuno’s heart.
It was formed in the aftermath of a 1985 pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal, that included Tim Heinan, the organization’s executive director and a former member of Our Lady of the Cathedral parish in Duluth.
Heinan, who will be attending the canonization ceremony Mass in Rome, moved to Arizona three years ago to open the society’s mission office in Tucson. The society is currently involved in projects to help orphans and others in need in Mexico and the Caribbean.
Of the organization’s nearly 1,000 members, approximately 325 are from Minnesota, with some 60 from the Twin Cities metro area, Heinan said. The society’s first Twin Cities chapter was officially formed this month and is based at Holy Rosary in Minneapolis.
Blessed Nuno provides an important witness to Catholics today, especially in light of the greed that helped spawn the current world financial crisis and ongoing global tensions.
“He was one of the wealthiest men of his day, but believed that the error of the rich and powerful in his day was their greed and all-consuming pursuit of more, rather than using their gifts from God to serve Christ in the poor and the most marginalized, especially orphaned children,” Heinan said.
“A close look at his life shows that he was truly a peacemaker who loved his enemies, even when he had to defend his nation from them,” Heinan said.
For more information about the Blessed Nuno Society, visit www.blessednuno.org. The Catholic Spirit
|Blessed Nuno society members celebrate canonization, miracle connection|| || |
|By The Catholic Spirit|
When Blessed Nuno Society members Father Ray Cossette, Father Rich Kunst, and
Society Executive Director Tim Heinan left Fatima, Portugal, on May 15, 2000, they had
no idea that a tragedy and a miracle were soon to take place. The group arrived in
Lisbon that afternoon only to discover that some of their luggage had been accidentally
left behind in a doorway, ninety minutes to the north. Heinan immediately phoned
his friend, Guilhermina de Jesus, and asked her to put the lost luggage in a taxi and send
it to Lisbon.
Guilhermina de Jesus is a simple and modest sixty-six year old Portuguese woman who
had often cooked and cleaned for Blessed Nuno Society members when they visited
Fatima. In 1998, the Society commissioned an artist in Fatima to produce a limited
number of nine-inch tall statues of the Society’s patron, Blessed Friar Nuno Alvares
Pereira. One of these porcelain statues had been given to Guilhermina because of her
deep personal devotion to Blessed Nuno.
Less than five months after asking Guilhermina to retrieve the lost luggage, Heinan
received a call from her family asking for prayers. Guilhermina, known simply as Mina
to her friends, had been cooking her famous “bacalhau” (codfish) when boiling oil
splashed in her face. She had just removed her glasses because they had steamed up
when the hot oil flared up, literally frying the cornea of her left eye. Mina was rushed to
the hospital but the doctors said she would be permanently blind. Consultations with
other medical specialists provided no hope.
In November, Mina asked her parish priest, Father Carlos Querido, to lead her and her
family in a novena to Blessed Nuno. A second novena ended on December 8, the feast of
the Immaculate Conception. Mina wanted to continue praying at home that evening, but
was unable to read the prayers, so she simply kissed the Society’s statue of Blessed Nuno
and touched it to her eye. As she describes it, a feeling of peace overcame her. The
following morning, when her family arrived at her house, she announced that she had just
been watching television. She had experienced an instantaneous and medically
On July 3, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI approved this healing as a miracle obtained
through Blessed Nuno’s intercession. Nearly six hundred years after his death, Nuno
would finally be canonized as a saint. Carmelite Postulator for the Cause, Rev. Felip
Amenos, had at least two other reported miracles to consider, but choose to present this
one to the Congregation for Causes of Saints because it was instantaneous and so clearly
tied in time and circumstance to the petitioner’s prayer to Blessed Nuno.
Heinan will represent the Blessed Nuno Society at the canonization Mass to be
celebrated by the Holy Father in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, April 26. The Blessed
Nuno Society, headquartered in the Diocese of Duluth, is a mission society and prayer
apostolate that has worked to support orphaned children since 1985. It is the only
organization in the English-speaking world that has been actively promoting the cause of
Blessed Nuno. St. Nuno will be the first member of the Carmelites of Ancient
Observance to be canonized since 1669. He is a patron of orphaned children and of
international peace and remembered for his determination to put service to Christ and to
the poor ahead of personal gain and wealth. His feast has been fixed universally on the
Roman calendar as November 6.