Chiara Corbella

The Italian wife and mother died in 2012 aged 28. She had three children with her husband Enrico Petrillo; two died shortly after birth, and while Corbella was pregnant with the third, Francesco, she contracted cancer. She refused medical treatment in case it endangered her unborn son. Many witnesses spoke of Chiara’s piety, steadfastness and joyfulness throughout her life. Her husband asked her at the end: “Chiara, is this Cross really sweet like the Lord says?” He says that his wife “smiled at me, and with a frail voice replied: ‘Yes, Enrico. It is very sweet.’” Articles written since her death have referred to her as a saint.

John Bradburne

Murdered in Rhodesia in 1979 by Robert Mugabe’s guerrillas, Bradburne has a unique place in English Catholic history – a poet, third order Franciscan, lifelong wanderer and heroic servant of the sick. During his travels, he came across a leper colony in what is now Zimbabwe and spent the last decade of his life there. He tended to the lepers, taught them the faith (as well as Latin and Gregorian chant), and spent the rest of his time on prayer and poetry. Bradburne had hoped to die a martyr, but his death was probably the result of false accusations of espionage, rather than odium fidei. Today the John Bradburne Memorial Society helps fund the colony and considers him a saint.

Bishop Enrique Angelelli

The Argentine bishop, assassinated in 1976 during the Dirty War, is already a Servant of God: that is, his Cause for canonisation is open. With the new regulations, his mysterious death is likely to be closely examined. Bishop Angelelli exemplified the Church’s support for workers’ rights. Having been appointed Bishop of La Rioja, he encouraged miners, farm workers and many others to unionise, and worked to appropriate unused land. Landowners disliked him; so did the military regime, which launched a brutal crackdown on politically active clergy. Bishop Angelelli’s death in an alleged car accident has been declared a murder by the Argentine courts.

Ignacio Echeverría

The “skateboard hero” of the London Bridge terror attacks was a committed Catholic known for his solidarity with the poor and the weak. The 39-year-old Echeverría, who had moved to London to work for HSBC’s anti-money-laundering team, was well known in the Catholic community in Madrid. Whether any of them have proposed his Cause is unclear. But his last moments demonstrate how a Catholic’s death might give honour to the faith without being a martyrdom. He saw a terrorist stabbing a woman, and rushed to defend her using his skateboard. In the ensuing fight, he was fatally stabbed with a kitchen knife.

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