The Story of an “Engaged Saint”

Pope Francis has decided that Sandra Sabattini, the young volunteer of the Community John XXIII who died in an accident in 1984, will be venerable

In recent days, Pope Francis, in addition to paving the way for the canonization of Paul VI and the martyr Archbishop Oscar Romero, has authorized the promulgation of a long list of decrees including one concerning Sandra Sabattini.

Shortly before the pre-Synodal meeting, which begins today in Rome and will end on Saturday, March 24th, bringing together young people from all over the world in view of the Synod, the significant announcement was made that a young Italian woman of 23 who led a completely “normal” life will be declared venerable.

Born in Riccione in 1961, Sandra was only 12 years old when she joined the Giovanni XXIII Community. A few years later, she studied medicine in preparation for going to Africa, one of her may many secret dreams, including the project of a future with Guido, a young man just a little older than her, to whom she was engaged.

However, on 29 April 1984, on her way to a community meeting, Sandra was hit by a car in Igea Marina. She went into a coma and died three days later in a hospital in Bologna.

Her beatification was asked for by Father Oreste Benzi, who explained that he was promoting the cause because “there are holy spouses, holy parents. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a holy fiancée?”

Father Oreste, among other things, edited the first edition of “Sandra’s Diary”—a collection of writings that give insight into a youthful model of exceptional evangelical fidelity—in 1985. Since 2006, the year when her cause of beatification was begun, nearly sixty testimonies concerning Sandra, the “holy fiancée,” have been examined.

19 March 2018