Congregations for the Causes of Saints, Particular Instruction for the Transfer of the Body of a Servant of God, 21 July 1998.
BEATIFICATION AND CANONIZATION OF THE SERVANT OF GOD, MARIA (IN THE WORLD, CASIMIRA KAUPAS), FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF SAINT CASIMIR
INSTRUCTION OF THE CONGREGATION FOR CAUSES OF THE SAINTSgiven to His Eminence, the Archbishop of Chicago, or to his vicar general, or to such priest as may be specially delegated in this matter, concerning the way in which the remains of the aforesaid servant of God, which have been kept in Saint Casimir Cemetery, in Chicago, should be identified and, after canonical inspection, be transferred to the chapel of the Motherhouse of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Casimir. All of this is to be done in a very private way without undue display or show of public veneration.
Mr. Andrea Ambrosi, duly appointed postulator in the cause of beatification and canonization of the servant of God Maria (in the world, Casimira Kaupas), foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Casimir, has presented a request regarding the transfer of the remains of the aforesaid servant of God from St. Casimir Cemetery in Chicago, where they now lie, to the chapel of the Motherhouse of the aforesaid Congregation of Sisters of St. Casimir located in the same city of Chicago. He has also inquired concerning the canonical identification of the remains. The Congregation for Causes of the Saints, having considered Mr. Ambrosi’s words, is favorably disposed to grant his request, with the stipulation that the particular instruction drawn up by this Congregation, as found in the Rescript of July 16, 1998 (cf. P.N. 1936-9/98), be followed.
Here are briefly noted the matters which are considered necessary and proper for fulfilling this task correctly.
When all the requirements of civil law have been noted and followed, and when this Instruction and any other documents received from the Congregation for Causes of the Saints have been taken account of, His Eminence, the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago, shall summon the promotor of justice and the ecclesiastical notary appointed for this case and he shall lay out for them the task and the manner in which all is to be sedulously carried out.
If he so wishes, His Eminence the Archbishop of Chicago may accomplish this task and indeed the entire matter through his vicar general or through some other specially delegated priest.
At a suitable day and hour as chosen, His Eminence, the Archbishop of Chicago, (or his delegate), together with the promotor of justice and notary, shall go to the burial place of the servant of God, namely St. Casimir Cemetery in Chicago.
Such priests, religious and laity as the archbishop of Chicago or his delegate shall deem wise to have in attendance can assist in the process.
Experts in anatomy and workers as needed will also be present, al1 these should take an oath or promise as determined by the archbishop or his delegate to carry out their duties faithfully.
Once these oaths or promises have been made, if there are present any who were witnesses at the previous burial of the servant of God, and if the archbishop or his delegate thinks it opportune to hear them make a definite identification of the tomb and casket with the remains, he should hear them under separate religious oath. Afterwards, if the acts of the former interment have been kept, he should direct that they be read aloud by the notary.
When the grave has been definitely identified and witnesses heard and the acts read, as described above, the casket is to be drawn from the grave. The archbishop or his delegate together with the promotor of justice should inspect it carefully to be sure of the authenticity of the seals and that all is as described in the acts and by the witnesses.
If, however, there is no official record of the last burial or if the seals or old vault appear to be broken, let diligence and all possible effort be made
and carefully noted in the acts, so that it will be very clear that the remains here removed are in fact those of the servant of God.
But if there is serious doubt concerning the identity of the remains, the work should be interrupted and the Archbishop or his Delegate should inform the Congregation for Causes of the Saints, giving the reasons for the doubt.
The required canonical investigation shall proceed as follows:
The casket containing the remains of the servant of God is to be opened and the remains—covered with a suitable cloth—are to be placed on a table so that the experts may cleanse them from dirt and other material. If necessary, other experts may be used after taking their oath or promise according to the determination of the archbishop or his delegate.
When this has been done, the experts in anatomy should carefully examine the remains of the servant of God and describe their condition; in addition, they shall faithfully identify all remaining bodily parts in a special inventory written and signed by them, which inventory is to be attached to the Acts.
If the examination of the remains cannot be completed in a single session, the place of investigation shall be closed and due precaution taken to avoid any danger of theft or profanation.
When all necessary steps have been taken for the preservation of the remains, and when the remains of the servant of God have been placed in a new and worthier casket (if that is desired), whatever was in the old casket should be placed in the new.
The Archbishop of Chicago or his delegate will see that no one takes anything from the casket or secretly places something in it.
If the remains are to be dressed in new clothes, it is appropriate for the new clothes to be like those which were found, in so far as that is possible.
Afterwards, the casket should be closed and fastened by bands with the seal of the Archbishop of Chicago.
Then the coffin with the remains of the servant of God is to be transferred to a suitable place designated earlier, namely to the chapel of the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Saint Casimir in Chicago. All this is to be done in a very private way, without display or any show of public cult.
In a document carefully drawn up about all the actions taken, the notary shall describe the above-mentioned investigation and reburial as well as give the measurements and shape of the new tomb and casket and its inscription. The Archbishop of Chicago or his delegate and the promotor of justice, the witnesses of the acts and the notary shall affix their signatures on this document and the notary shall also place his seal on it.
In this document, there shall be inserted the rescript of the Congregation for Causes of the Saints as well as this instruction and the acts of the previous burial of the remains of the servant of God. An authentic copy of all these same acts (with appropriate photographs of the tomb), after comparison with the original, should be sent to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.
As for other issues of whatever nature or importance that may arise, these are left to the care and prudence of the Archbishop of Chicago or his delegate as well as to the promotor of justice. Towards these persons the Holy Father and the Congregation for the causes of the Saints have complete trust in the Lord.
Rome, July 21, 1998
Prot. No. 1936-9/98, July 21, 1998, W.H. Woestman, Canonization: Theology, History, Process (Ottawa, Faculty of Canon Law, Saint Paul University, 2002): 210-214.