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News > Venezuela

Pope Francis Beatifies Venezuela's Dr. Jose Gregorio Hernandez

  • Image of the Venezuelan doctor Jose Gregorio Hernandez.

    Image of the Venezuelan doctor Jose Gregorio Hernandez. | Photo: Twitter/ @ArquiCaracas

Published 19 June 2020

This 19th-century physician is popularly known as the "doctor of the poor" in Latin America.

Pope Francis Friday authorized the decrees that will allow the canonization of three Latin American blessed who lived in the 19th century and to whom the Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognizes the miracles people attribute to them.


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The first of them is the Venezuelan physician Jose Gregorio Hernandez, who died in 1919 in Caracas after a car accident. Known as "the doctor of the poor," he studied in Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and New York, which allowed him to become a renowned bacteriologist in his day.

“Jose Gregorio had a strong religious vocation: at first he wanted to be a monk and he went to Italy in 1908 where he entered the community of Certosa di Farneta, in the province of Lucca. However, he had to go home for health reasons," the Vatican News recalled and added that "he treated patients bravely during the Spanish fever epidemic."

The canonization of the Venezuelan doctor gained new momentum when Catholic authorities defined the recovery of a teenager who was shot in the head in March 2017 as a miracle.

"The doctors gave no hope considering the severity of the injury," the local outlet VND reported and recalled that her mother asked Dr. Jose Gregorio to save her daughter.

"Jose Gregorio Hernandez Cisneros was a doctor, scientist, teacher, and philanthropist with a deep religious vocation. He was a secular Franciscan Catholic, recognized for his solidarity with those most in need and remembered for his charity, generosity, rectitude, and service to the poor. Blessed."

“To everyone's amazement, she was discharged after 20 days of her operation. Miracle! Healthy, walking, speaking fluently, and with no sequel. In Dec. 2018, the case was studied by the hospital's medical court, which described it as inexplicable,” VDN added.

The other two Latin American blessed figures are the Argentine Mamerto Esquiu and the Mexican Gloria Maria de Jesus Elizondo Garcia.

Previously, in Oct. 2018, Pope Francis sanctified El Salvador's Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who was assassinated while he was holding a mass on March 24, 1980.

He was a human rights defender who kept his church's doors open to farmers displaced from their lands because of the civil war (1980-1992).


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