2 Americans among the Catholic Church's newest saints
Two Americans are among 7 saints canonized in a mass conducted by Pope Benedict.
Cheers rose from the crowd when the pope named Kateri Tekewitha, known as "Lily of the Mohawks" and beloved by Native Americans; and Sister Marianne Cope, a German-born nun who was raised in Utica, N.Y., before moving to Hawaii. But the loudest cheers were for Saint Pedro Calungsod, a 17th-century Filipino martyr, from a large contingent of Italy's Filipino community thatcame out to celebrate.
The canonization Mass comes amid a meeting of bishops aimed at shoring up religious belief worldwide and several of the saints were missionaries.
Benedict prayed that "the witness of the new saints" would "speak today to the whole church. "May their intercession strengthen and sustain her in her mission to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world," he added.
Kateri was born in Auriesville, N.Y., about 40 miles west of Albany, to an Algonquin mother and father who was Mohawk. She was baptized by French Jesuits at age 20 after losing her parents in a smallpox epidemic. After being persecuted by some of her contemporaries for her faith, she fled to an Indian settlement in what is now Canada, where she died at age 24.
Others came to honor Saint Marianne Cope, a former mother superior of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis in Syracuse, N.Y., who moved to the island of Molokai in 1883 to tend those with Hansen's disease, or leprosy. There, she worked with Father Damien De Veuster, a Belgian priest who was canonized in 2009.
Benedict called Saint Marianne, who died in 1913, "a shining and energetic example of the best of the tradition of Catholic nursing sisters and of the spirit of her beloved Saint Francis."
The two canonizations bring the number of American saints to 12, although only 4 were born in the United States.