Pope Benedict XVI canonized 7 new saints today, including the church’s first Native American saint, for their “heroic courage.”
The pope said during his homily:
“With heroic courage they spent their lives in total consecration to the Lord and in the generous service of their brethren.”
Al Jazeera reports that tens of thousands of people gathered outside St Peter’s Basilica to see the canonization of Jacques Berthieu, Pedro Calungsod, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Marìa Carmen Sallés y Barangueras, Marianne Cope, Kateri Tekakwitha, and Anna Schäffer.
The Pope gave a brief reflection on the works of each new saint. For Kateria,the church’s first Native American saint, the Pope said:
“Leading a simple life, Kateri remained faithful to her love for Jesus, to prayer, and to daily Mass. Her greatest wish was to know and to do what pleased God. She lived a life radiant with faith and purity. Saint Kateri, Protrectress of Canada and first Native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of faith in the First Nations and in all of North America! May God bless the First Nations!”
Marianne Cope, who was born in New York, was praised for her work in Hawaii where she took care of leprosy patients on a remote peninsula. Cope began her work on Molokai Island in 1883 when leprosy was feared by many.
The Pope said:
“At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage and enthusiasm. She is a shining and energetic example of the best of the tradition of Catholic nursing sisters and of the spirit of her beloved St. Francis.”
Pope Benedict XVI closed by addressing Mary, the Queen of all Saints, and asking the congregation to follow in the example of the recently canonized saints.
The Pope said:
“We wish today to entrust to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary all missionaries – priests, religious, and lay – that in every part of the world sow the good seed of the Gospel.”