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November 19, 2001


Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will concelebrate the Mass of Canonization of Leonie Frances de Sales Aviat on Sunday, November 25, 2001 at Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy at 9:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. Eastern time) Mother Aviat will then be known as Saint Leonie Aviat. Pope John Paul II will canonize Mother Aviat, who is credited with the miraculous intercession in the healing of Bernadette McKenzie Kutufaris, Drexel Hill, Delaware County. While in Rome, those attending the Canonization will have an audience with Pope John Paul II on Monday, November 26, 2001 and celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving, also on November 26th.

Approximately 220 people from Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland will join the official pilgrimage of the Oblate Sisters of Saint Francis de Sales, the order of nuns founded by Mother Aviat. Buses for the official pilgrimage will depart for Philadelphia International Airport on

Thursday, November 22, 2001 (Thanksgiving)
1:30 p.m. (pilgrims will arrive earlier; buses will pull out at 1:30 p.m. sharp)
Saint Bernadette Parish
1035 Turner Avenue (between Bond and Marvine Avenues)
Drexel Hill, Delaware County


In March 1990, at the age of 12, Bernadette McKenzie experienced severe pain and underwent surgery for a tethered spinal cord. Two subsequent surgeries occurred in January and November of 1991. Her surgeon referred her to another physician, solely for pain therapy, since he felt that her case was insolvable. A novena (nine days of prayer) was begun on March 22, 1992 to Mother Aviat, by family, friends and parishioners. On the fourth day of the novena, Bernadette experienced a sudden and complete reversal of pain and debilitation. On March 31, 1992, her physician examined her again and stated that he found no media explanation for her recovery. On December 18, 2000, Cardinal Bevilacqua announced that Pope John Paul II decreed that Bernadette's healing was attributed to the intercession of Mother Aviat. The Holy Father's decree was the last major step needed for the canonization.

Since the cure occurred in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the diocesan inquiry regarding the case was opened by Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua on September 8, 1994. It was submitted to Rome in November 1994. On February 17, 2000, a board of medical experts decided that there was no scientific, natural or medical reasons for the cure. On June 23, 2000, a board of theologians decided that the healing was due to the intercession of Mother Aviat. On December 5, 2000, a board of cardinals and bishops, members from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, recommended the healing to the Holy Father as miraculous. On December 18, 2000, the Pope decreed the healing was miraculous.

Donna Farrell
Broadcast and Media Specialist

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