Vernalbe Samuel Charles Mazzuchelli was born in Italy and joined the Domincans at the age of 17. He was sent to the American frontier where he served as a missionary priest to the Northwest Territory, from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi. He ministered to immigrant settlers, miners, farmers, traders, political leaders, and native tribes. He has a deep love for the Native Americans, so he established schools that taught in their own language, and also published a Winnebago prayer book and liturgical almanac in Chippewa. Venerable Samuel also fought governmental injustices against Native Americans. Along with founding 30 parishes, he began a religious community of women, the Dominican sisters of Sinsinawa, to continue his mission of teacher and preaching. Mazzuchelli died on February 23, 1864.
Father Samuel helped to spiritually and physically build the Church where he served. After he died, many prayed for his canonization. On July 9, 1964, Mother Benedicta, Sinsinawa Dominican Prioress, formally petitioned for official establishment of the cause for his "hoped for" beatification and canonization.
Under the direction of the Vatican Congregation for Causes of Saints, Dominican Sr. Nona McGreal wrote a formal presentation of his life and virtue (called a positio.) The document’s historical review was completed in 1990. Next expert theologians reviewed it to determine the heroic quality of his virtues.
On July 6, 1993, Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli was declared "Venerable" by Pope John Paul II. The title "Venerable" recognizes his holiness and completes the first step towards his canonization. Next, the Church examines reports of miraculous favors attributed to him. If a miracle is approved, the Pope would beatify Father Mazzuchelli with the title "Blessed." If the Church approves a second miracle, Father Samuel could be honored by the Church as "Saint Samuel." This would make many hearts dance with joy!