Brazilian nun beatified, on path to sainthood
SALVADOR DE BAHIA, Brazil – Tens of thousands of Roman Catholic faithful flocked to this far northeastern city for a ceremony that puts a Brazilian nun known as Sister Dulce on the path to sainthood.
Some 70,000 people were in Salvador for the event, including President Dilma Rousseff and some 500 Roman Catholic priests and nuns.
The ceremony, carried out in the church of Our Lady of Hope, was led by Brazilian Cardinal Dom Geraldo Majella Agnelo in representation of Pope Benedict XVI.
Born Maria Rita de Souza Brito Lopes Pontes, Irma Dulce — or Sister Dulce — founded a charity group that provides health, welfare and education for the poor in the state of Bahia.
Pope Benedict signed decree beatifying Sister Dulce in December 2010, after he ruled that the late nun was responsible for a miracle during a high-risk birth in 2001.
Beatification is the third of four steps leading to sainthood. In the Catholic Church the canonization process — the process that leads to sainthood — can take years, sometimes centuries. A proven miracle is needed for the last two stages.
Irma Dulce, also known as «The Angel of Bahia,» died in 1992 at the age of 78.