The Process of Canonization of Blessed César De Bus
Father César died in Avignon, France, on April 15, 1607. As soon as the news spread, everyone repeated, “A saint has died!”. After the solemn funeral, Father César was buried in the tomb of the Congregation but, as the pilgrimage of the faithful continued and the fame of the miracles that had occurred through his intercession spread, the Doctrinaires spoke with the Archbishop of Avignon, Monsignor Bordini, who agreed to give Father César a burial in the church of St. John the Elder. The body was examined and found to be intact, even though it had been buried for over a year in a damp place. So Father César was placed in the sacristy, in an elevated place so that he could be easily accessed and prayed over. He remained in the sacristy for over 6 years, until he was placed underground in a chapel of the church where he remained until 1817. In 1623, the new archbishop of Avignon, Monsignor Dolce, had the room where Father Cesare died made into a chapel. On April 15 of the same year, the anniversary of his death, the city of Avignon offered a votive lamp.
The informative Process on the fame of sanctity began in Avignon,auctioritate ordinaria, in 1615 and ended in 1620.
After years of study and investigation, many petitions came to Benedict XIV, Pope from 1740 to 1758 to urge the beatification of Father César . The Bishop of Cavaillon wrote: “The fame of the sanctity of Father César de Bus is still alive and growing day by day”. But, around 1740, news spread in Rome that several Doctrinaires of France had adhered to Jansenism. The process of beatification of the Founder was suspended. The Postulator, Father Valentin, who resided in Rome, immediately went to France and visited all the houses. In 1744 the General Chapter was held at Beaucaire where serious measures were taken against possible adherents of Jansenism. Father Valentin, back in Rome, brought the documents approved by the General Chapter to the Pope. Benedict XIV wrote a letter to the new Superior General, Fr. Francis Mazenc, in which he congratulated him on what had been established in the Chapter. The Cause of beatification was resumed and, on March 28, 1747, the Plenary Congregation of the Cardinals was held. Having died a few days earlier, Card. Accoramboni, Pontiff of the Cause, died a few days earlier and the Pope himself gave the report. The vote was unanimous.
Here is how Father Valentin recounts it all in a letter to the Rector of Cavaillon: “… at last, after more than one hundred years of postulation, after a thousand fruitless attempts, after so many obstacles and useless expenses, we have had a Congregation (of Rites) that is perhaps the most honorable and favorable that we have ever had: The Pope, with a very special act of kindness, wished to preside over this Congregation; indeed, he did more than that, he deigned to act personally as Pontiff; he spoke for over an hour and with such eloquence that all the votes of the twenty-one Cardinals converged in our favor. The cause was to be dealt with on the 24th, the eve of the Annunciation, but the death of three Cardinals, which occurred in less than 13 hours, meant that there was the Papal Chapel on the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, for the funeral. His Holiness, to whom I had already told me that each day seemed longer than a month, with unprecedented goodness and condescension, determined to convene the Congregation on March 28, against the ordinary rule of never holding congregations of this kind either in this week or in the week of Easter; moreover he wanted to congratulate me before all the Cardinals assuring me that as soon as possible he would issue me a most desirable and favorable decree”.
On April 6, 1747 the Decree of the introduction of the Cause was signed. Father Valentin left immediately, by sea, for Avignon. His ship was pursued by the Algerians, who were fortunately driven away by an English ship. During the voyage, Father Valentin fell ill with a fever and had to be hospitalized in Marseilles. On October 4 he was able to attend the recognition of the body of Father Caesar, in the presence of the Archbishop of Avignon, the Vicar and other illustrious men. In 1748 the Processes “super non cultu” and “super scriptis” were carried out. In Avignon, 20 handwritten notebooks were found, as well as the 5 printed volumes of the “Family Instructions” and, in Maçon, two bound manuscripts.
When these Processes were finished, Father Valentin returned to Rome towards the end of 1748. This was followed by the Apostolic Processes on the reputation for holiness “in general” (1749-1750) and on the reputation for holiness “in specie” (1751-1754), which received the Decree of juridical validity in May 1756.
The Process seemed to be moving towards a favorable end but, in 1789, the French Revolution broke out in Paris and caused the destruction of the Congregation of the Doctrinaires Fathers in France and the Cause of Beatification was suspended in awaiting for better times.
In 1817, at the end of the French Revolution and after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815, the Congregation was rebuilt in Italy by Fathers Filippo Blancardi, Carlo Luigi Vassia, Pietro Silvestro Glauda, and Giulio Bevilacqua-Valletti. Father Vassia was appointed Postulator and the Cause of Father Cesare was resumed with the Rotal Advocate, Msgr. Amici. On December 8, 1821 Pope Pius VII issued the Decree on the virtues practiced to a heroic degree.
At the same time, in execution of the master plan of Avignon, the church and house of St. John the Elder were demolished. The body of Fr. Cesare was transported to the church of St. Peter, also in Avignon. But the Doctrinaires of Italy asked that the body be transferred to Italy, and precisely to Rome, to the church of Santa Maria in Monticelli. Archbishop Dupont, Archbishop of Avignon and a former pupil of the Doctrinaires, joyfully made every effort to proceed with the transfer. Thus, in 1836, the Doctrinaires brought their Founder to Italy. For the occasion, the following epigraph (in Latin) was placed on the tomb: “Body of the V. The body of the Venerable Servant of God CÉSAR DE BUS Founder of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Christ’s Priests . Who lived 63 years, died in Avignon in France on April 15, 1607, transported to Rome under the pontificate of Gregory XVI and deposed here on the 8th of July 1837”. After the exhumation of 1924, a new Latin inscription was added, which has remained until today: “The sacred remains of the venerable Cesare de Bus, founder of the secular priests of the Christian Doctrine, were placed here by apostolic authority on November 15, 1924”.
April 27, 1975: St. Paul VI declares Father César blessed.
The two miracles that occurred through the intercession of Fr. César , recognized by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, with instantaneous, perfect and lasting healings were those of Pasquale Savino, suffering from acute pulmonary syndrome, combined with cardio-respiratory insufficiency, and of Maria Bianco, struck by a thyroid tumor that, having manifested itself suddenly, developed rapidly. The two miracles occurred respectively in Ascoli Satriano and in San Damiano d’Asti.
In preparation for the beatification, from July 10 to 15, 1974, at the Generalate, the canonical recognition of Fr. Cesare’s remains was carried out by a doctor, in the presence of representatives of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Superior General, and some confreres. This was the fourth canonical recognition, after those of 1608 and 1836 in France, and 1924 in Rome.
On April 27, 1975, Father Cesare was proclaimed Blessed in St. Peter’s Basilica.
2021: Blessed Cesare de Bus is proclaimed a saint by Pope Francis.
Among the many graces attributed to the intercession of Blessed Cesare de Bus, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints examined the case of the successful recovery of a young woman from Salerno suffering from “severe Acinetobacter Baumannii MDR meningitis in a patient with previous intraparenchymal cerebral hemorrhage,” which occurred in 2016. While the young woman was in a serious clinical situation due to a large cerebral hemorrhage, which occurred on October 17, 2016, suddenly, on the following November 9, she was struck by a bacterial meningitis, which compromised even more the clinical picture, which was already severely tested. Only after three days, the health situation improved enormously and, on November 30, the young woman was discharged from the hospital completely cured of meningitis. The initiative to entrust the young girl to the intercession of Blessed Cesare was started in the parish of Santa Maria dei Barbuti, entrusted to the Doctors. Informed by friends, our confreres immediately sent to family members, relatives and other acquaintances the little image of the Blessed with a prayer for healing and a relic of the Blessed. Daily invocations to the Blessed began so that he would intercede for the young woman’s recovery. Prayer vigils were organized and many parishioners joined in. Relatives and friends prayed in the hospital, in the hall in front of the Intensive Care Unit.
On May 26, 2020, Holy Father Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree on the miracle.