MANILA (UPDATED) - A Filipino nun, who happened to be the great, great grandaunt of former first gentleman Mike Arroyo, is now a step closer to sainthood.
This after Pope Francis has recognized the "heroic virtues" of Maria Beatrice Rosario Arroyo, declaring her as "Servant of God."
The Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints promulgated the declaration on Wednesday.
Arroyo was the founder of the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of the Holy Rosary in the Philippines.
According to the Dominican Sisters, Mother Arroyo was born on February 17, 1884 to a wealthy couple, Don Ignacio Arroyo and Doña Maria Pidal in Molo, Iloilo City.
But despite her wealthy upbringing, the nun chose a life of poverty and devoted her life to the service of the poor.
At the age of 27, she entered the convent and donated her inheritance to the congregation.
She was described to have "virtues of purity and innocence, deep simplicity and profound humility, and ardent love for the poor and needy."
With the help of two other Dominican nuns, Mother Arroyo created the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary.
She died on June 14, 1957.
After being recognized as Servant of God, Arroyo now earns the title "venerable."
A person's declaration as Servant of God signals the beginning of the long and meticulous process of his/her possible canonization. Canonization is the official act of the Catholic Church declaring that the person who has died was indeed a saint.
After the declaration of being a Servant of God, a miracle approved by the pope is required to pave the way for beatification. After the beatification rite, a person is now declared "Blessed."
But in case of martyrdom, meaning that the person died defending the faith, the miracle required for beatification can be waived.
A second miracle is required for eventual canonization. Once the pope declared that the person was indeed a saint, he/she is included in the "canon" or list of saints recognized by the Church.
So far, the Philippines have two recognized saints: Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila and Pedro Calungsod of Cebu.