VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of four people, including a Franciscan priest and a lay Franciscan.

During a meeting April 15 with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, the pope signed a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Ludovico da Casoria -- an Italian Franciscan priest who founded the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth. He died in 1885 and was beatified by Blessed John Paul II in 1993.

Pope Francis also recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Amato Ronconi, a 13th-century Italian lay Franciscan and founder of a hospice for the poor, which is now a home for the elderly in Rimini, Italy. Pope Pius VI had confirmed his status as a blessed in 1776. In October, Pope Francis recognized the layman's heroic virtues, moving the cause back onto a normal path toward canonization.

By recognizing the miracles, the pope cleared the way for the two to be canonized.

Also, on April 16, Pope Francis signed decrees recognizing:
• The heroic virtues of French Archbishop Alain Guynot de Boismenu, who was a member of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. He served as apostolic vicar in Papua New Guinea and directed missionary activity there in the early 1900s.
• The heroic virtues of Redemptorist Father Wilhelm Janauschek of Vienna, who died in 1926.
Approving the two men's heroic virtues has made them "venerable." Before they can be beatified, the Vatican must recognize that a miracle has occurred through their intercession.