Vanessa Santilli-Raimondo, The Catholic Register

Vanessa Santilli-Raimondo, The Catholic Register

Vanessa is a communications coordinator in the Office of Public Relations and Communications for the Archdiocese of Toronto and former reporter and youth editor for The Catholic Register. 

You can follow her on twitter @V_Santilli.

TORONTO - A treasure that was buried for centuries within the Vatican walls will soon be on public display thanks to a triumph of local archeology and Canadian philanthropy.

The Canadian chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums will travel to the Vatican Museums in October to celebrate its role in the restoration of the Santa Rosa necropolis, a Roman cemetery of significant archeological and historical value. The patrons have donated about $1 million to the restoration cause.

Discovered by accident in 2003 when a parking lot was being expanded, the necropolis was a burying ground mainly for slaves, servants and Rome’s lower classes.

TORONTO - The Canadian Augustinian Centre for Social Justice is part of a multi-faith partnership that will sponsor an upcoming forum on housing and homelessness.

Taking place Sept. 20 at the Multifaith Centre at the University of Toronto, the centre is partnering with the North American Muslim Foundation and the MultiFaith Alliance to End Homelessness to activate and model peaceful and collaborative multi-faith approaches to social justice in Toronto, said Augustinian Centre director Brian Dwyer.

“We want to open up dialogue among diverse religious groups about shared experiences with homelessness and poverty,” said Dwyer.

TORONTO - Andrew Santos recently landed a full-time position at Salt + Light Television as an associate producer. A former member of the Youth Speak News team, Santos says YSN played a huge role in forming his vocation as a journalist.

Santos, now 21, says his YSN editors always challenged him to think outside the box and to be as creative as possible.

“And to this day, I still find myself exercising great care when it comes to my work.”

And with a new year of Youth Speak News kicking off, another team of young writers will have the same opportunity to jump headfirst into Catholic journalism.

TORONTO - The health of those who are “vulnerably housed” is just as poor as the homeless, says a recent study from researchers at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital.

The study found that more than 85 per cent of homeless people have chronic health conditions and more than half have a mental health problem. But those who are “vulnerably housed” — meaning they live in unsafe, unstable or unaffordable housing — have equally poor or worse health than those with no housing at all, found the study published in the International Journal of Public Health last month.

“It’s something that’s not as visible to us because we don’t see them on the street,” said Dr. Stephen Hwang, principal investigator of the study and a physician-researcher at the hospital’s Centre for Research on Inner City Health.

TORONTO - Noelle Munaretto knew it was time to find a full-time job after graduating from Ryerson University.

Influenced by the sudden media hype Twitter was attracting, she decided to sign up and, within 24 hours, was following about 300 people.

By following the people that her existing contacts followed, Munaretto, a Catholic, was led to a tweet advertising a position she was interested in. And by August, she had a job as operations manager at the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance.

The Internet and social media are critical in the job hunt, said Friar Richard Riccioli, former pastor at St. Bonaventure Church in Toronto and current director of Francis Corps, a young adult volunteer experience in Syracuse, N.Y.

To counter the partying that goes hand-in-hand with FROSH week at post-secondary institutions, campus chaplaincies offer students something a little different.

At King's University College at the University of Western Ontario, the campus chaplaincy will be holding a prayer service to welcome students back to school.

"It's a prayer service instead of Mass because we want it to be inclusive for all our students who may not be Catholic," said campus minister Sr. Susan Glaab.

The service will involve some quiet reflection, some Taizé prayer, singing and sharing in small groups, said Glaab.

Campus chaplaincy will also be there on Labour Day as an unofficial welcoming committee, as the students move into residence, to answer any last-minute questions and offer support to both students and parents, she said. Glaab said it's important for campus chaplaincies to hold FROSH events — particularly when they're affiliated with a larger university — so students know there's a place they can go on campus for support, space and some much-needed quiet.

"It's very important because during FROSH week they're just bombarded with everything and, for a lot of students, that can be an overwhelming experience," said Glaab. "Some adapt to it right away but others need more balance in their lives… so we're there to offer that and promote our Catholicity."

robotTORONTO - A team from Blessed Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School in Scarborough recently won the top prize at this year’s National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Design Competition in Rochester, N.Y.

Beating out 10 other teams from New York State, the all-girls robotics team designed and built a robot which had to pick up as many white cans as possible from their field positions on an obstacle course and place them in the “finish box” within a three-minute period. “We were the only team competing from Canada,” said Mary Charles Hills, one of the team’s teacher advisors.

Leeza ShakkouriMarkham, Ont. - When Leeza Shakkouri creates a painting, her audience is usually her art teacher and her classmates. But the Grade 12 student’s recent project was different.  She painted a portrait of Brother André that was unveiled Oct. 9 at a Mass celebrating Brother André Catholic High School’s 25th anniversary.

The portrait will be permanently hung in the school for the entire school body to enjoy.


Brother André Salt and LightTORONTO - Every time Sébastian Lacroix visits St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, he pays a visit to the Votive Chapel.

“Just being there for me is inspiring and you realize there’s a big story to tell: the story of Brother André but also Brother André’s dream that continues today,” he said, referring to the soon-to-be canonized Canadian’s dream of building the Oratory.

Brother André’s story is captured in two documentaries (an English and French version) created by Salt + Light Television that offer a biographical look at Brother André’s life and legacy in time for his Oct. 17 canonization, said Lacroix, producer of the French version.

October 4, 2010

The Canadian saints

St. Isaac Jogues
St. Jean de Brebueuf
St. Charles Ganier
St. Isaac Jogues (1608-1646): born in Orleans, France, he was ordained to the Society of Jesus. In 1636, he was sent to Quebec as a missionary to the Hurons and was tortured and imprisoned by the Iroquois in 1642. He was rescued and returned to France, but went back to Quebec and sent on a peace mission to his torturers. He was captured by the Iroquois en route and on Oct. 18, 1646, his captors killed him. Named one of the Canadian martyrs by Pope Pius XI, their feast day is Oct. 19.
St. Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649): was a French Jesuit missionary and martyr of New France whose mission was to evangelize native Americans. He lived among the Hurons for more than 15 years. In 1648, the Iroquois launched a war of extermination against the Huron. Refusing to flee when their village was attacked, Brébeuf and his assistant, Gabriel Lalemant, were captured and tortured to death by the Iroquois. Brébeuf is one of the Canadian martyrs.
St. Charles Garnier (1606-1649): was born in Paris and joined the Jesuits in 1624. After teaching at the Jesuit college at Eu, he was ordained in 1635. The following year, he was sent to Quebec as a missionary to the Hurons. Garnier was murdered by a war party of Iroquois on Dec. 7 at Etarita, where he was stationed. Even when the mission was attacked and he himself wounded, he continued to baptize neophytes and to assist a wounded Huron. Garnier is also one of the Canadian martyrs.
St. Antoine Daniel
St. Gabriel Lalemant
St. Noel Chabanel
St. Antoine Daniel (1600-1648): was born in Dieppe, France, and became a Jesuit in 1621 at 29. He arrived in Acadia in 1632 and was then sent to Quebec. He was a missionary near Bias-d’or Lakes and founded the first boy’s college in North America in Quebec in 1635. He worked in Huronia for 12 years. On July 4, he had just finished Mass when the mission was attacked. His martyred body was thrown in the flames of the burning Church at Mount St. Louis.
St. Gabriel Lalemant (1610-1649): was born in Paris and became a Jesuit priest in 1630. After remaining in Quebec for two years, he was sent to the Huron missions as Brébeuf’s assistant. He was barely there a month when the Iroquois attacked the mission of St. Louis where they found Brébeuf and Lalement. After setting fire to the village, they led the two priests back to St. Ignatius where they were tied to stakes and put to death. Some of the relics of Lalemant were carried to Quebec. Also one of the Canadian martyrs.
St. Noël Chabanel (1613-1649): was the youngest of the priests and the last of the eight martyrs. Born in France, he became a Jesuit priest at the age of 28. He was a successful professor and humanist and had a strong desire to help the Canadian missions. He was martyred on Dec. 8 at Nottawasaga.
St. Rene Goupil
St. Jean de La Lande
St. Marguerite Bourgeoys
St. René Goupil (1608-1642): had to leave the Jesuit novitiate because of bad health. He studied medicine and offered his services to the Jesuit missions in Canada. On his way to Ste. Marie, he was captured and tortured by an Iroquois war party, along with Isaac Jogues. He was the first of all the martyrs and was killed while making the Sign of the Cross on the brow of a child near Auriesville, New York.
St. Jean de Lalande (1600s-1646): at 19, offered his services as a layman to the Jesuits in New France. He accompanied Jogues to the Mohawk mission in 1646 and was captured with him and tortured. The day after Jogues’ death, he tried to sneak out of the lodge at night to recover the priest’s body. A guard killed him.
St. Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620-1700): Born in France, the stories of hardships and dangers in Montreal that made other people shiver awoke a call in St. Marguerite Bourgeoys from God to serve the native Americans. She helped start a school for the children of Montreal, called Ville Marie. Making numerous trips to France to recruit teachers, these woman became the first sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame. Her feast day is Jan. 12.
St. Marguerite d'Youville
St. Marguerite d’Youville (1701-1771): founder of the Sisters of Charity, is the first Canadian to be elevated to sainthood. She studied under the Ursulines, married Francois D’Youville in 1722 and became a widow in 1730. She worked to support herself and her three children and devoted much of her time to the Confraternity of the Holy Family in charitable activities. She was appointed directress of the General Hospital in Montreal and, since her death, her order has established schools, hospitals and orphanages across the world. Canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1990, she is known as the “mother of the poor.”

Kateri Tekakwitha


Blessed, Venerable & more


André Grasset
Kateri Tekakwitha
Marie de l’Incarnation
François de Laval (1623-1708)
Marie-Rose Durocher
Brother André
Marie-Léonie Paradis
Louis-Zéphirin Moreau
Frédéric Janssoone (1838-1916)
Catherine de Saint-Augustin
Dina Bélanger
Marie-Anne Blondin
Émilie Tavernier-Gamelin (1800-1851)
Bishop Vasyl Velychkovsky, C.Ss.R. (Ukrainian) (1903-1973)
Bishop Nykyta Budka (Greek-Ukrainian) (1877-1949)


Vital Grandin
Alfred Pampalon
Élisabeth Bergeron
Délia Tétreault

Causes For Sainthood

Jérôme Le Royer de la Dauversière
Jeanne Mance
Fr. Pierre-Joseph-Marie Chaumonot
Br. Didace Pelletier
Jeanne LeBer
Sr. Rosalie Cadron-Jetté (1794-1864)
Sr. Marcelle Mallet
Sr. Élisabeth Bruyère
Sr. Élisabeth Turgeon
Sr. Marie Fitzbach
Sr. Éléonore Potvin
Sr. Catherine-Aurélie Caouette
Fr. Alexis-Louis Mangin
Br. Théophanius-Léo (Adolphe Chatillon)
Gérard Raymond
Bishop Ovide Charlebois
Sr. Marie-Clément Staub
Fr. Eugène Prévost
Br. Antoine Kowalczyk
Louis Émond
Fr. Victor Lelièvre
Catherine de Hueck Doherty
Pauline Archer-Vanier (1898-1991)
Georges Vanier
Sr. Carmelina Tarantino (1937-1992)