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File image of Carlo Acutis, who is on course to be made a saint Alamy Stock Photo
God's Influencer

London-born teenager to become first millennial saint after Pope recognises second miracle

Carlo Acutis, who died in 2006 aged 15, has been dubbed ‘God’s influencer’.

A LONDON-BORN Italian teenager who died from leukaemia in 2006 at the age of 15 is set to become the Catholic Church’s first millennial saint.

Yesterday, Pope Francis formally recognised a second posthumous miracle attributed to Carlo Acutis, paving the way for Acutis to become a saint.

a-commissioned-statue-of-blessed-carlo-acutis-an-italian-teenager-beatified-in-2020-in-st-eugenes-cathedral-derry-northern-ireland-carlos-died-in-2006-age-15-from-leukaemia-he-was-a-frequent A commissioned statue of Carlo Acutis in St Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Last year, a relic of Acutis travelled Ireland and a statue of the teenager was commissioned for St Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry.

To be canonised as a saint in the Church, at least two miracles need to be attributed to a person after their death.

In February 2020, Pope Francis formally recognised as a miracle the healing of a Brazilian child who was born with a pancreatic defect that made eating difficult.

This miracle is said to have occurred after the Brazilian child came into contact with one of Acutis’s t-shirts.

After the recognition of this first miracle, Acutis was beatified and received the title of ‘Blessed’ and began to be venerated by some within the Church. 

The second miracle, formally recognised yesterday, involved the healing of a 21-year-old woman from Costa Rica named Valeria Valverde.

In 2022, she was involved in a bicycle accident and suffered a severe head injury while studying in Florence, Italy.

Valverde then had emergency surgery to reduce pressure on her brain, but her family were told that the situation was critical, and that Valverde may not survive.

Her mother is said to have gone on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Acutis in the Italian town of Assisi, where the teenager is buried in jeans, a tracksuit top, and Nike shoes.

15-year-old-carlo-acutis-an-italian-boy-who-died-in-2006-of-leukemia-lies-in-state-ahead-of-being-beatified-by-cardinal-agostino-vallini-in-assisi-italy-saturday-oct-10-2020-ap-photogregori Image from 2020 of a woman visiting the tomb of Carlo Acutis in Assisi, Italy Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

According to the Church, on the same day that Valverde’s mother went to pray at the tomb of Acutis, Valverde began to breathe on her own and the following day she was able to move her arms and speak.

She was able to leave the intensive care unit ten days later and it is reported that Valverde has made a full recovery, needing only a week of physiotherapy after leaving hospital.

The Catholic Church defines a miracle as a “sign or wonder such as a healing, or control of nature, which can only be attributed to divine power”.

For something to be formally recognised by the Church as a miracle, two-thirds of a medical board consisting of at least six doctors are required to sign a statement affirming that the supposed miraculous event cannot be explained by natural causes.

Acutis, who died in Monza, Italy, has been dubbed “the patron saint of the internet” and “God’s influencer”.

He was interested in computer science and made a website dedicated to Eucharistic miracles.

It’s expected that Acutis will become a saint next year, which is a jubilee year within the Catholic Church.

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