Pope Canonizes 7 Saints, Including First Native American
Pope Benedict XVI added seven more saints onto the roster of Catholic role models on Sunday, saying their example would strengthen the church as it tries to rekindle the faith in places where it’s lagging. Two of them were Americans: Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint from the U.S. and Mother Marianne Cope, a 19th century Franciscan nun who cared for leprosy patients in Hawaii.
Native Americans in beaded and feathered headdresses and leather-fringed tunics sang songs to Kateri as the sun rose over St. Peter’s Square ahead of the Mass. Also taking part was Sharon Smith, whose cure from complications from pancreatitis was deemed a “miracle” by the Vatican, paving the way for Mother Marianne to be canonized.
In his homily, Benedict praised each of the seven new saints as examples for the entire church, calling Cope a “shining” example for Catholics and Kateri an inspiration to indigenous faithful across North America.