Pope Benedict created seven new saints on Sunday including the first Native American to be canonised, as the Roman Catholic Church reaches out to its global flock to rebuff encroaching secularism.
Thousands of pilgrims from around the world converged on St Peter’s Square to witness the ceremony recognising the saints, who included Kateri Tekakwitha, a sixteenth-century convert known as “Lily of the Mohawks”. The crowd included hundreds from the United States Native American population. Among them was a 12-year-old boy who survived a fatal flesh-eating virus, which was attributed to miraculous intervention by Saint Kateri.
Many pilgrims held portraits of Pedro Calungsod, killed doing missionary work in 1672, who became the second Filipino saint. Other new saints included French Jesuit Jacques Berthieu, Italian priest Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Spanish nun Carmen Salles y Barangueras, and German laywoman Anna Schaffer.