Catholic Church

Vatican allows probe into sainthood of Taguig catechist ‘Ka Luring’

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Vatican allows probe into sainthood of Taguig catechist ‘Ka Luring’

'NIHIL OBSTAT.' Archbishop Charles Brown (left), apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, presents to Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara the 'nihil obstat' document stating that nothing stands in the way of the cause for sainthood of Laureana 'Ka Luring' Franco.

Diocese of Pasig

Laureana ‘Ka Luring’ Franco, who died of cancer at the age of 75 in 2011, is touted as a potential modern-day saint from the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The Vatican has allowed an investigation into the life of Laureana “Ka Luring” Franco, a Taguig catechist who died of cancer a decade ago, to determine if she can be declared a Catholic saint. 

Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, whose jurisdiction includes Taguig City, said apostolic nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown and his counselor, Monsignor Giuseppe Trentadue, have handed him a nihil obstat document from Rome. Vergara made this announcement in a Facebook post on Wednesday, July 10.

The nihil obstat – a Latin term that literally means “nothing hinders” – is a certification that nothing stands in the way of a cause for sainthood. The apostolic nuncio, who delivered the nihil obstat to Vergara, is the ambassador of the Holy See to the Philippines and also the dean of the diplomatic corps in the country.

Giuseppe Trentadue
MOMENT OF JOY. Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara poses with Monsignor Giuseppe Trentadue, counselor at the Apostolic Nunciature, with the ‘nihil obstat’ on the cause for sainthood of Laureana ‘Ka Luring’ Franco. Photo from Diocese of Pasig

The document was signed by Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, and the dicastery’s secretary, Archbishop Fabio Fabene. It was addressed to Vergara, who is also vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

“Having examined the matter, I am pleased to inform Your Excellency that on the part of the Holy See, there is nothing that stands against the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the abovementioned Servant of God Laureana ‘Ka Luring’ Franco from being carried out, observing the ‘Norms to be observed in the Inquiries made by the Bishops in the Causes of Saints,’ issued by the same Dicastery on February 7, 1983,” the nihil obstat from the Vatican read.

Vergara said, “May I ask for your unceasing prayers as we do the next steps required by the dicastery. Deo Gratias (Thanks be to God).”

Laureana Franco, Ka Luring
FILIPINO SAINT? The late Laureana ‘Ka Luring’ Franco of Barangay Hagonoy, Taguig City, is being pushed as a candidate for Catholic sainthood. Photo from Diocese of Pasig

Franco, who was born to a poor family in Barangay Hagonoy, Taguig City, died at the age of 75 on October 17, 2011. She was a telephone switchboard operator and accounting clerk at the Philippine Air Force, who left her government job to become a full-time catechist or teacher of the faith. She was known for her heroic acts of kindness and her love for the poor.

For her work as a catechist, in 1990, she received one of the highest honors in the Catholic Church – the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award – upon the recommendation of Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin and the approval of Pope John Paul II.

The nihil obstat is one of the first stages of an often decades-long process to declare a person a Catholic saint. Aside from a meticulous investigation into a candidate’s life, at least two miracles – vetted by scientists and declared by theologians as supernatural – need to be attributed to the candidate’s intercession.

Vatican allows probe into sainthood of Taguig catechist ‘Ka Luring’

Despite this complicated process, the 500-year-old Philippine Catholic Church is on the lookout for saints who can help make their faith relevant in the modern world. One of the new candidates for sainthood in the Philippines is Niña Ruiz Abad, a 13-year-old girl from Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, who died of an incurable heart disease in 1993.

The global Catholic Church is seeing a similar need for saints for the 21st century. Pope Francis recently approved the sainthood of Italian-born Carlo Acutis, a young computer programmer who died of leukemia in 2006 and who has also gained a huge following in predominantly Catholic Philippines. –

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior multimedia reporter covering religion for Rappler. He also teaches journalism at the University of Santo Tomas. For story ideas or feedback, email