ROME — The Archdiocese of Caracas announced that Jose Gregorio Hernandez, known affectionately as the “doctor of the poor,” will be beatified in April.
In a video posted to the archdiocese’s Twitter account Jan. 24, Father Honegger Molina, spokesman for the archdiocese, said Hernandez will be beatified “at the end of April this year” and that the event will be a symbol of encouragement for the people of Venezuela.
“This year, Venezuela opens the door of hope and joy with the example of Jose Gregorio Hernandez,” he said.
Born in 1864 in the Andean village of Isnotu, about 460 miles west of Caracas, Hernandez studied medicine in Venezuela and at the famed Pasteur Institute in Paris.
While in Europe, he attempted on two occasions to join a monastery, but weak health prevented him from becoming a monk.
Upon his return to Venezuela, he practiced medicine and would often visit sick patients without asking for payment for his services. His generosity led to locals calling him “the doctor of the poor.”
His life was tragically cut short in 1919 when, after picking up medicine for a patient at a pharmacy, he was struck down by a passing car. Since then, Venezuelans remain devoted to the saintly doctor and have attributed healings to his intercession.
In June, Pope Francis signed a decree approving a miracle attributed to Hernandez, paving the way for his beatification.
According to the Venezuelan bishops’ conference, the miracle in question was the healing of Yaxury Solorzano Ortega, a 10-year-old girl who was shot in the head by thieves attempting to rob her father.
During surgery, the young girl’s mother prayed to Hernandez and said she felt a hand on her shoulder and heard a voice that said, “Stay calm, everything will be fine.”
Doctors initially said Solorzano would remain disabled, including losing her ability to speak and see, if she survived her surgery. Nevertheless, she fully recovered 20 days after her surgery.
In January 2020, a medical commission of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes confirmed there was no medical explanation for her healing.
After the pope signed the decree approving the miracle, Archbishop Jose Luis Azuaje Ayala of Maracaibo, president of the Venezuelan bishops’ conference, said Catholics have “anxiously awaited this great historic moment for our nation and for our church.”
Azuaje said that after the beatification, Venezuelans can seek Hernandez’s intercession whenever there are “calamaties before us but above all, to strengthen our hope to overcome this state of decline and difficulty our people are experiencing, especially the poorest and the abandoned.”