The Olympian with the Frassati devotion

The Olympian with the Frassati devotion

Catholic US Olympian Rebecca Dussault is featured in the Washington Post yesterday, which talks about her Catholic faith and devotion to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.

The article says that Dussault hopes that her winning an Olympic medal this weekend would be the first miracle needed for his canonization. Okay, first, there is already one miracle attributed to Pier Giorgio’s intercession. The former minister general of the Franciscan Third Order Regular was miraculously healed. I forget his name, but I met him at Franciscan University of Steubenville back in 1994 or 95 when he came to give a talk about Frassati.

Second, miracles for canonization must be such that they can have no explanation other than the supernatural. No matter how low Dussault is ranked in Olympic skiing, her winning would not be unlikely enough. She was good enough to qualify after all. Now, if I won an Olympic event… that would qualify as a miracle. Or a sign of the apocalypse.

I don’t mean to disparage Rebecca. I admire her very much. I just want to make sure people understand exactly what’s involved in canonization and Pier Giorgio’s story.

That’s not to say that Dussault’s story isn’t miraculous:

Elite ski racers simply don’t quit the sport in their peak years, get married, have a child, decide to return on a whim, walk into the Olympics and win a medal. She isn’t even healthy; she has been besieged by severe sinus problems that only get worse with vigorous exercise in the cold winter air.

It is a good newspaper article, even surprisingly so. I know that I’m rooting for Rebecca. Even if it wouldn’t qualify for canonization, her winning would be a great witness to the man of Torino, Pier Giorgio.

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