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A Rising Saint in the North: Teenage Filipino Girl as a candidate for sainthood

The Diocese of Laoag, under the leadership of Father Renato Mayugba, is set to initiate the diocesan phase of the cause of beatification and canonization of Niña Ruiz-Abad, a native of Ilocos Norte, on April 7, 2024. Niña passed away at the age of 13 in 1993.

The Vatican has granted the nihil obstat, signifying approval for the investigation into the life and deeds of Niña. Described by her family, friends, and schoolmates as living a humble and devout life, she was known for her steadfast commitment to God, encapsulated by her famous phrase, “God first,” which inspired those around her, including classmates and teachers, to deepen their spiritual connection.

The investigative process will commence in Quezon City, where Niña spent her formative years, before moving on to Laoag City in Ilocos Norte, where she spent her final years. Despite being diagnosed with hypertrophic myopathy at the age of 10, Niña dedicated herself to serving her community and church, distributing rosaries, prayer books, and Bibles, while maintaining a profound devotion to the Eucharist. Father Donny Pajarillaga, who encountered Niña in 1993, testified to her innate spirituality, noting her consistent attire of white clothing and rosary.

Niña’s resting place in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, has become a site of pilgrimage. If she is successfully declared a saint, she will be the first Filipina saint and one of the youngest in history.

The Diocese of Laoag is resolute in advancing the canonization process, believing that Niña’s story will serve as an inspiration to the younger generation, illustrating the power of unwavering faith and love for God, even in the face of life’s challenges.

“Her story continues to reach the hearts of many people because it is an example of how with God obstacles can be overcome,” expressed the Philippine Bishops’ Conference. | Princess Lhura Payumo

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