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Conference of Bishops vote to advance cause of canonization for two Acadiana natives

Charlene Richard and Nonco Pelafigue.jpg
Posted at 3:52 PM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 16:52:00-05

Two Acadiana natives are now closer to possible sainthood after a vote by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday.

The bishops voted on Wednesday, November 17th at the gathering in Baltimore to advance the cause of canonization of three people, two from Acadiana.

Charlene Marie Richard and Auguste "Nonco" Robert Pelafigue are the two causes from Louisiana. The third person is Joseph Dutton of Hawaii.

The Diocese of Lafayette says that Bishop Douglas Deshotel addressed the bishops to tell the story of Richard and Pelafigue, who, each in their own way, inspired others to devote themselves to deepening their faith.

Charlene Richard and Nonco Pelafigue now join Lt. Fr. Verbis Lafleur as three candidates from the Diocese of Lafayette on concurrent paths to canonization. Fr. Lafleur’s cause was similarly ratified by the U.S. Bishops earlier this year during their 2021 Spring Plenary Assembly.

In January, Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of the Diocese of Lafayette officially opened the "Cause for Canonization" of Charlene Richard and Auguste "Nonco" Pelafigue.

Charlene Richard, known as "The Little Cajun Saint," was an Acadia Parish middle school student. In 1959, Charlene, who was 12 at the time, was diagnosed with cancer and later died.

She was buried at St. Edward Catholic Church Cemetery in Richard. Her grave site has garnered international attention with thousands visiting to pray.

Nonco Pelafigue was a longtime resident of Arnaudville, a teacher, a producer of children's plays, and door to door lay evangelist who devoted his life to his religion.

“It was a joyful moment to hear a unanimous voice vote supporting our pursuit of both causes for beatifying and canonizing both local parishioners of our Diocese. Many of the Bishops who had never heard of Charlene and Nonco told me how inspired they were by their holy lives. It is significant that the request came from local people who knew them well," Bishop Deshotel said.

The bishops’ vote represents the second step of the three-step journey toward canonization.

Now that parishioners of the Diocese of Lafayette and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have both voiced support of the three Causes, the process now moves to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican in Rome which will document, in detail the lives of the three candidates and investigate any miracles attributed to their intercession.

     To read the complete statement from the USCCB concerning Servant of God Charlene Richard

  To read the complete statement from the USCCB concerning Servant of God Auguste Pelafigue

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