Introduction of Cause for Canonization: Sister Blandina Segale, S.C.

Sister Blandina Segale, S.C. (courtesy Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati)

Sister Blandina Segale, S.C. (courtesy Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati)

Sister Blandina with menmbers of her family (courtesy Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati)

Sister Blandina with clients from Santa Maria Social Service Center (courtesy Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati)











Last week we received the press release below concerning the introduction of the cause for canonization for Sister Blandina Segale, S.C. (Cincinnati). For more information, see the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati website (

Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan to Hold Joint Press Conference with CHI St. Joseph’s Children to Announce Vatican’s Immediate Permission to Open the Sainthood Cause of Servant of God, Sister Blandina Segale, SC
Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 11:00 AM
CHI St. Joseph’s Children Facility
1516 5th Street NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Tuesday, June 24, 2014- IMMEDIATE RELEASE– Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan will hold a joint-press conference with CHI St. Joseph’s Children, Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:00 am to announce the Vatican’s immediate permission to open the Sainthood Cause of Servant of God, Sister Blandina Segale, SC. The press conference will be held at CHI St. Joseph’s Children Facility located at 1516 5th Street NW, Albuquerque, 87102. A delegation from the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati will include Sr. Victoria Forde, SC, official delegate. The historical posting of the official Decree will be displayed on the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi’s doors on Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 3pm during La Conquistadora/Our Lady of Peace Vespers and Procession to Rosario Chapel located at Rosario Cemetery in Santa Fe.

Archbishop Sheehan received permission to open the cause of beatification from the Vatican via the Congregation for the Cause of Saints. Archbishop Sheehan was named Judge for the Cause; Most Rev. Ricardo Ramirez, Bishop Emeritus of Las Cruces, has been named Postulator; and Allen Sánchez, President and CEO of CHI St. Joseph’s Children, is designated as Petitioner.

This is the first time in New Mexico’s Roman Catholic Church’s 400 year history a decree opening the cause of beatification and canonization has been declared.

CHI St. Joseph’s Children (St. Joseph Community Health) Board of Directors approved a motion to petition the canonization of Sr. Blandina Segale, SC at their May 28, 2013 board meeting.
Contact: Allen Sánchez 505.319.3334

Background information
Servant of God, Rosa Maria Segale (Sr. Blandina Segale, SC)
The Servant of God, Rosa Maria Segale (Sr. Blandina Segale, SC) was born January 23, 1850 in Cicagna, Italy. Her family migrated to Cincinnati, OH when she was four years old. Her first word as a child was Gesu (Jesus).

On September 13, 1866 the Servant of God entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. She was sent to work in the newly acquired territories of the western United States in 1872. Arriving first in Trinidad, CO, Sr. Blandina taught the poor. In 1877 she was transferred to Santa Fe, NM where she cofounded the public and Catholic schools. Her work included starting hospitals in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Her work in these territories is well documented in the publication of letters to her sister, also a Sister of Charity, called At the End of the Santa Fe Trail.

Other heroic virtues include her tireless work of teaching and healing the immigrant, the marginalized, the poor, and advocating for women and children. She challenged the occupying government and military in fair treatment of the Native Americans. Sr. Blandina came to the aid of mistreated railroad workers, finding time to care for the sick while building orphanages, hospitals, schools, and trade schools.

Her compassion converted hundreds and she even had numerous encounters with the famous Billy the Kid and his band of outlaws. She calmed mobs of armed men from taking the law into their own hands and helped criminals seek forgiveness from their victims, and even saved a man from a hanging party by facilitating reconciliation between him and the man he shot before he died. In 1966 this story of bravery was told in a CBS series Death Valley Days episode “The Fastest Nun in the West” where she faced down the barrels of guns to find justice. One account is her prevention of Hispanic and Native American’s loss of homes and land to swindlers and another is saving a lost horse drawn wagon of passengers during a winter blizzard and reaching safety in blackout conditions.

In 1897 she founded the Santa Maria Institute in Cincinnati, serving immigrants. She led the organization until 1933. The institute is still in operation today, serving the poor and marginalized.

In 1900 Sr. Blandina returned to Albuquerque for two years to help start the St. Joseph Hospital whose mission continues today as CHI St. Joseph’s Children, also known as St. Joseph Community Health.

Her ministries continue today, over 100 years later, and thousands of poor children receive early childhood service by her continuing ministry. Many of the adobe structures Sr. Blandina built still stand today as monuments to her courage.. For example, in Old Albuquerque the convent bears her name. Her life’s work is well documented in the archives of the Sisters of Charity Mother House in Cincinnati.

Sr. Blandina was one of the petitioners of the Cause of St. Elizabeth Seton, and at 81 years old she traveled to Italy to meet with Pope Pius to plead St. Elizabeth’s Cause. The Servant of God died on February 23, 1941 in Cincinnati at the Mother House of the Sisters of Charity at the age of 91. Her last words were Gesu e Madre.

Contact: Allen Sánchez 505.319.3334–END
Archdiocese of Santa Fe Office of Communications/Media
505.831.8162 Website:

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