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Pope Canonizes 2 Palestinian Nuns

  • VOA News

Four nuns, including two Palestinians, are the Roman Catholic Church's newest saints.

Pope Francis canonized them Sunday at a Mass at the Vatican.

Two of the nuns - Mariam Bawardy and Marie Alphonsine Ghattas - lived in what was 19th-century Palestine.

Their canonization is seen an encouragement to Christians across the Middle East who are facing a wave of persecution from Islamic extremists. They are the first saints from the Holy Land since the early years of Christianity.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attended the Mass in Saint Peter's Square.

A French nun and an Italian nun also became saints Sunday. Both were founders of institutions dedicated to the education of the poor.

Pope Francis meets Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during an audience at the Vatican, May 16, 2015.

Pope Francis meets Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during an audience at the Vatican, May 16, 2015.

Pope Francis met with Abbas Saturday, after the Vatican said it was preparing to sign its first accord with the Palestinians.

The pope called Abbas "An angel of peace" during a 20-minute private audience at the Vatican.

News of the accord angered Israel, prompting a statement saying "such a development does not further the peace process and distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct bilateral negotiations."

Some material for this report came from AP.

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