PIUS XII, Venerable Pope (1876-1958)
Leader of the Roman Catholic Church from 1939 until his death. Papal Secretary of State; Secretary for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs; Nuncio in Germany. He worked to conclude treaties with European and Latin American nations, moost notably the Reichskonkordat with Nazi Germany.
TLS – Typewritten Letter Signed, two pages, 1935, as Substitute Secretary of State. Addressed to the Reverend Mother of a monastery in Malestroit, France. On behalf of the Pius XI, he expresses the pleasure of the pontiff on the occasion of the tricenteennial of the monastery. Goes on to mention its patron, Saint Augustine. He sends his congratulations to the superior, her sisters and those clients who benefit from their charity. Letter is in an excellent state of conservation. Other than usual folds, it is near fine. Accompanied by a color reprint image of Pius XII. Nota bene: one dealer is selling a clipped signature of Cardinal Pacelli for $699. Clearly there can be no comparison between with letter with significant historical association, and a “mere” autograph.
While the Vatican was officially neutral during World War II, Pius XII maintained links to the German Resistance, used diplomacy to aid the victims of the war and lobby for peace, and spoke out against race-based murders and other atrocities. The Reichskonkordat and his leadership of the Catholic Church during the war remain the subject of controversy—including allegations of public silence and inaction about the fate of the Jews. After the war, he advocated peace and reconciliation, including lenient policies towards former Axis and Axis-satellite nations. He was also a staunch opponent of Communism and of the Italian Communist Party.
During his papacy, the Church issued the Decree against Communism, declaring that Catholics who profess Communist doctrine are to be excommunicated as apostates from the Christian faith. In turn, the Church experienced severe persecution and mass deportations of Catholic clergy in the Eastern Bloc. He explicitly invoked ex cathedra papal infallibility with the dogma of the Assumption of Mary in his Apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus. His magisterium includes almost 1,000 addresses and radio broadcasts. His forty-one encyclicals include Mystici corporis, the Church as the Body of Christ; Mediator Dei on liturgy reform; and Humani generis on the Church’s positions on theology and evolution. He eliminated the Italian majority in the College of Cardinals in 1946.
After his 1958 death, he was succeeded by Pope John XXIII. In the process toward sainthood, his cause for canonization was opened on 18 November 1965 by Pope Paul VI during the final session of the Second Vatican Council. He was made a Servant of God by Pope John Paul II in 1990 and Pope Benedict XVI declared Pius XII Venerable on 19 December 2009.
YVONNE BEAUVAIS MÈRE YVONNE de JÉSUS (1901-51) – Helped Allied soldiers and French resistance fighters during WWII by sheltering them at the hospital and aiding their escape. She is said to have disguised some Allied airmen as nuns. She was awarded the French Legion of Honour by General Charles De Gaulle.
In 1946, Mother de Jésus established the Federation of the Augustinian monasteries and became its first Superior General.