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Dec 19, 2015 2:35 PM

Dover native under consideration for sainthood, would be a first for NH

DOVER — New Hampshire may get its first-ever saint if Dover native Brother William Gagnon, newly considered for canonization, completes the steps toward sainthood.

According to Fosters Daily Democrat, Gagnon was born in Dover in 1905 of French-Canadian parents and became a member of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God in Montreal in 1932. He is being considered for canonization for his work tending to the sick and dying in Vietnam from 1952 until his death in 1972.

On Monday, Pope Francis recognized Gagnon’s “heroic virtue” and gave him the title of “Venerable,” the second of four steps toward sainthood.

“He gave of himself in Vietnam,” Father Agapit Jean of the Parish of the Assumption in Dover told Fosters. “The work that he did there was amazing. To be able to care for people in a foreign land, especially Vietnam at that time in history, is a wonderful thing. We are able to celebrate that someone from our community is being honored in such a beautiful way.”

Currently, the only American-born saint is Katharine Drexel, founder of Xavier University, who was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000.

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