MALMÖ, Sweden (OSV News) – While many Catholics around the world rejoiced upon hearing the news that Pope Francis had approved a second miracle attributed to Blessed Carlo Acutis, none was happier than his mother, Antonia Salzano.

“We were very happy, of course, as you can imagine,” Salzano said in a telephone interview with OSV News May 24. “It was great news because we were waiting for this declaration — especially for all the devotees he has around the world.”

Yet for her, the approval of the miracle “was a big sign of hope because through (Carlo’s) example, he gave witness to values that are for everybody; not just for (believers), but for nonbelievers, like helping the poor, human respect, the love for nature, love for the environment.”

Pope Francis recognized May 23, 2024, the second miracle needed for the canonization of Italian Blessed Carlo Acutis, who died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15. He is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/courtesy Sainthood Cause of Carlo Acutis) Editors: best quality available.

It’s also the fulfillment of the teen’s lifelong dream of becoming a saint, which he had expressed since he was a boy, she said.

“He always said, ‘I want to please God,'” Salzano told OSV News. “When he did his first holy Communion — when he was 7 years old — he wrote, ‘To be united with God: this is my life program.’ And he maintained this promise all his life until the end, until his death.”

Before his death from leukemia in 2006, Carlo was an average teen with an above-average knack for computers. He used that knowledge to create an online database of Eucharistic miracles around the world.

Although Salzano vividly remembers her son’s devotion to Jesus and the Virgin Mary and his care for the poor, including using his own money to purchase sleeping bags for the homeless, she also remembers him as an average teenager who enjoyed life.

“He loved (soccer), he loved basketball, he liked animals, he liked to play. A lot of friends loved him very much because he was always joking, making films,” she recalled.

“But at the center of his life was Jesus; he had a daily meeting (with Jesus) through the holy Mass, Eucharistic adoration, and the holy rosary. This was characteristic (of Carlo). And when you open the door of your heart to God, your ordinary life becomes extraordinary.”

“This is Carlo’s secret,” she continued. “And this is possible for everybody because Carlo had a simple spirituality. He didn’t have the stigmata, or apparitions, or (experienced) levitation. He had a simple childhood. Everything Carlo did was in Jesus, through Jesus and for Jesus.”

As part of his sainthood cause, the young teen’s body was exhumed and transferred to a place suitable for public veneration, the Shrine of the Renunciation at the Church of St. Mary Major in Assisi in 2019.

The first miracle attributed to Carlo’s intercession was approved by Pope Francis in February 2020. It involved a young Brazilian boy who was completely healed from a rare congenital disease of the pancreas. In October of that year, the teen was beatified during a Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.

The second miracle, which now paves the way for Carlo’s canonization, was approved by the pope May 23 after a meeting with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.

According to the website of the dicastery, Pope Francis recognized the miraculous healing of Valeria Valverde, a young Costa Rican woman living in Florence who suffered a severe head injury.

The same day her mother visited Carlo’s tomb, Valverde “regained the ability to breathe on her own, and the following day, doctors recorded the recovery of upper limb motility and partial speech,” the dicastery said.

Salzano told OSV News that she spoke with Valverde who was “suspended between life and death” before her mother prayed at the tomb of the young teen.

“The mother was a woman of faith. She prayed; she went to Carlo because she had a devotion (to him) and kneeled in front of his grave all day praying for her daughter’s healing and she received the grace,” she said.

But for the future saint’s mother, countless other miracles have been attributed to Carlo since his death.

“Consider that when he died, people started to pray to him spontaneously and the first miracle occurred the day of his funeral,” Salzano told OSV News. “A woman diagnosed with breast cancer and was about to start chemotherapy prayed to Carlo to heal her. And she was healed completely without any chemotherapy instantly. It was incredible; two days (after the funeral), she did all the examinations and there was nothing. (The cancer) had disappeared.”

Pope Francis has praised the young teen as a role model for today’s young people, who are often tempted by the traps of “self-absorption, isolation, and empty pleasure.”

Salzano recalled one of her son’s now most well-known quotes, “All are born originals, but many die as photocopies” and said that everyone is unique and shares “a special call to holiness.”

With all the trials Christians, especially young people, face today, Carlo’s life serves as a reminder that every person has “beautiful things” inside them and to “not be scared” but “be confident.”

“I think that is very important nowadays because young people tend to imitate very much,” Salzano said.

Carlo tells “each one of us that we are special, that we are unique and especially remember that there is an afterlife and that somebody created us, that loves us, that wanted us to be alive,” she told OSV News.

“We are not made to be people in this universe of chaos without a goal. God created us for a goal, and that goal is paradise,” Salzano said.