The Miracle for the Canonization of St. Marcellin

Br. Heriberto Weber and mis miraculous cure



On 3 July, in the presence of the Pope, the decree on the miracle attributed to Blessed Marcellin Champagnat was promulgated. This was the only one presented which dealt with a canonization. In this Act there were presented also another thirteen decrees concerning miracles for beatifications, heroic virtue and martyrdom. Present at the audience were Brothers Gabriele Andreucci,, Postulator of the cause, Seán Sammon, Vicar General, and Henri Vignau, Councillor General.



Br Heriberto (Heinrich Gerhard Webber) was born at Essen (Germany) on 19 March 1908.

After his novitiate and first profession in Furth (21 November 1926) and a period of teacher training he taught for a few years in Germany. On 30 April 1937, owing to difficulties arising in his country, he had to go into exile in Uruguay, along with a large group of German Brothers.

He was to develop his apostolic activity for many years in Uruguay, first in Primary teaching and then in Secondary. On several occasions he discharged the duties of College Headmaster and Superior of Community.

In May 1976, in the midst of his normal activities, he was afflicted by fevers reaching high temperatures and experienced severe spinal pains which forced him to stay in bed. The doctors diagnosed “an early, unknown growth which was transferring to the lungs”. The doctors who were attending to him pronounced him incurable and as such he was treated in the sanatorium where he remained as a patient.

On 13 June, at the request of the Brother Provincial of Uruguay, the Brothers of the Province, together with their pupils, started a novena of prayers to ask for the cure of Br Heriberto through the intercession of Blessed Marcellin Champagnat.

At the end of the novena, on 26 July 1976, the patient felt a sudden and unforeseen improvement. The X-ray plates taken on that date showed that the signs of the illness had disappeared. Br Heriberto, the Brothers of the communities in Uruguay and the pupils who knew him, from the very beginning considered this cure to be miraculous.

Br Agustín Carazo, who was Postulator General at the time, asked for a diocesan informative process to consider this presumed miraculous cure and this took place in Montevideo between the months of March and May 1985.

When the case was presented on 1 April 1993 before the Medical Council of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican, the doctors asked for more documentation in order to get more precise details on the diagnosis which was uncertain, based on the preceding acts of the process. The General Council entrusted Br Eugenio Magdaleno, a Councillor General, with the task of completing the inquiries asked for by the Medical Council and he went to Uruguay and the Provinces on its borders in Argentina to this effect. When the case was studied again on 25 November 1993, the Medical Commission concluded that because there were persistent uncertainties concerning the diagnosis “all that could be confirmed was the exceptional nature of the case”.

On 28 February 1995, the Postulator General of the Cause, Br Gabriele Andreucci, taking into account the opinion of two of the medical experts, asked the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for permission to present the case again to the Medical Commission for revision.

When the cure had been studied again on 26 June 1997 in the light of the new investigations, the doctors defined the illness as “serious pulmonary infection, characterised by modular bilateral dissemination with marked respiratory insufficiency, in a subject with serious complications considering his general state”. And taking into account the fact that “the cure had been very rapid, complete and lasting”, concluded that such a cure is scientifically inexplicable.

On 20 February 1998, the presumed miracle was studied by the Commission of Theologians of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and finally, one month later, on 21 March 1998, Br Benito Arbués, Superior General, was able to inform the whole Institute that the result of the report submitted by the Commission of Theologians “favours by six affirmative votes to one only negative” considering the cure of Br Heribert Weber as miraculous.

The following step to arrive at the long-desired Canonisation of Blessed Marcellin Champagnat was the meeting of the Commission of Cardinals and Bishops which was held on 2 June 1998 and which expressed its favourable opinion on the miraculous cure of Brother Heriberto.

After yesterday’s promulgation, very soon, in an ordinary public Consistory, the Pope will ask the cardinals who are present in Rome if it is opportune to inscribe Blessed Marcellin on the list of saints and will decide on a date for his canonization.