Holy Family Sisters encouraged in Delille cause

Sister Eva Regina Martin, congregational leader of the Sisters of the Holy Family, had a two-fold purpose for making a pilgrimage to Rome late last month.

The first reason was to attend the Oct. 21 canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, along with six other saints, by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square. Sister Eva Regina’s great-great grandmother, who was born in St. Martinville, was a Native American of the Attakapas tribe.

The other reason was to visit Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Vatican congregation that will make a judgment on the possible beatification of Mother Henriette Delille, who founded the Sisters of the Holy Family in 1842 to care for and educate slaves and free people of color in pre-Civil War New Orleans.

The congregation is continuing its review of a medical cure of Marilyn Groves from life-threatening double pneumonia and bacterial infection as a 4-year-old. Groves is the grand niece of Sister of the Holy Family Doris Goudeaux. She began to rally from her serious illness after her family prayed for her healing through the intercession of Mother Henriette.

Sister Eva Regina said Cardinal Amato remains very interested in the cause. A panel of medical experts has asked for more information about Groves’ recovery before it can affirm that the healing has no clear medical explanation, Sister Eva Regina said.

“Cardinal Amato was so warm and engaging, and we talked with him at length,” Sister Eva Regina said. “He said the process of the case is still in good shape, but he said right now it rests with the seven doctors. That’s where everything is right now. There are some questions that need to be answered, and once they pass that, that should be the greatest hurdle.”

Sister Eva Regina was joined at the meeting by Sisters of the Holy Family Greta Jupiter, assistant congregational leader; Marie de Montfort Breaux, Geneva James and Lucille Stelly.

Sister Eva Regina said the cardinal urged the sisters to continue promoting Venerable Henriette’s story to as many people as possible.

“Our challenge is to make her known – to put her name out there and tell the world about her – so that people can pray to her and call on her name,” Sister Eva Regina said. “He also told us we need to pray and make sacrifices to make sure the case is brought forth. It all depends on prayer and sacrifice.”

Sister Eva Regina said she does not know how long the process will take from this point. The original doctors have been asked for more information on the healing.

“Our job is to pray this thing through,” Sister Eva Regina said. “When it’s going to occur, I don’t know. It’s kind of like a mystical experience of faith.”

Peter Finney Jr. can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .