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October 16, 2010

Pope Benedict Proclaims 6 New Saints

by Sabina Castelfranco

Tens of thousands of faithful attended an open-air canonization ceremony in Saint Peter's Square. Pope Benedict proclaimed six new saints, including the first from Canada and Australia.  

It was a festive occasion in Saint Peter's Square with Canadian and Australian flags being held by the faithful who came to take part in Sunday's ceremony.

Pope Benedict raised the first Canadian, 19th century Father Andre' Bessette and the first Australian, 19th century nun Mary MacKillop to sainthood.

In his homily, the pope said Father Andre' Bessette, from Quebec, became known early on for his suffering and poverty.

Australia's first saint, Mary MacKillop, established the country's first religious order, the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, devoted to the poor and needy.

"For many years countless young people throughout Australia have been blessed with teachers who were inspired by the courageous and saintly example of zeal, perseverance and prayer of Mother Mary MacKillop," the Pope said.

MacKillop was a strong-willed woman who sometimes clashed with church authorities.

The other saints proclaimed by the pope today were from Poland, Spain and Italy. The pope told those gathered to allow themselves to be attracted by these shining examples and to allow themselves to be guided by their teaching.