Johannesburg - A South African couple could soon be declared saints by the Catholic Church, should all processes and prayers go well.
This follows the petitioning of Rome by the Bishop of the Catholic Church in Johannesburg, Buti Tlhagale, who is passionate about the beatification and canonization of Gauteng couple, Daniel (Danny) and Maria (Domitilla) Hyams, founders of the LITTLE EDEN Society.
The couple was known for dedicating their lives to looking after people with mental and physical disabilities who were rejected by modern society. The deceased couple are buried in a Johannesburg church, while investigations into their sainthood continue.
All Catholics have been asked to pray for the success of this petition, which would be a milestone for the continent should it succeed.
For the couple to be declared saints, a lengthy process will be embarked upon, including getting the testimonies of people who knew them and proof that the couple had lived a life of virtue, as well as empirical evidence of their virtues of holiness.
The next stage would be to declare the couple as blessed, which would be the beatification stage, and then the cause for sainthood would begin, which would need (proof) of a miracle for it to go through, so someone would need to have been healed from sickness or disease through the couple’s intercession.
"Over the past number of months, the Archdiocese has been reflecting on the lives of Danny and Domitilla Hyams, co-founders of LITTLE EDEN Society, an organisation that cares for children and adults with profound intellectual disabilities. Domitilla had always felt a calling to be a missionary in Africa, and LITTLE EDEN became the way in which she not only gave expression to that calling but allowed her life to reflect the values and virtues that are consistent with holiness," the church said on its website.
According to the church, it is not possible to give a timeline for this process as a separate independent inquiry will be required by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, including meticulous and thorough inquiries into any alleged miracles attributed to the person whose cause is under consideration. Some saints were only canonised as such centuries after their deaths.
"It is little wonder then that the procedural investigations towards sainthood have been described as one of the most rigorous yet formulated. Nevertheless, as the greater family of LITTLE EDEN Society, we continue to pray daily for a successful outcome, and for this, we also request your prayers (special prayer cards are available at LITTLE EDEN Society for this cause). Prayer, for Domitilla and Danny, was their publicaly stated most powerful 'tool'. May it also be ours and yours for the couple’s eventual canonization, which would be Africa’s first and only the world’s third couple to be honoured as saints," the church said.