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Profiles: The 7 new Catholic saints

SPECIAL MASS Pope Benedict XVI presides over the canonization Mass. AFP

VATICAN CITY—Pope Benedict XVI created seven new saints on Sunday including the first Native American. Following are penpix of each:

Kateri Tekakwitha

Dubbed the “Lily of the Mohawks.” Tekakwitha has been a symbol of hope for American Indians for centuries. She was born in 1656 to an Algonquin mother and a Mohawk father, and converted by Jesuit missionaries as a child. After surviving smallpox and being orphaned, the young woman, nearly blind, earned a following for her deep spiritualism before dying at just 24. Tradition holds that her smallpox scars vanished at the time of her death in 1680 – considered a miracle that paved the way for her beatification in 1943. Sainthood was assured when Pope Benedict XVI approved a second miracle last year, the full recovery of an 11-year-old Native American boy from a flesh-eating bacterium after his parents prayed for divine intercession through Tekakwitha in 2006.

Pedro Calungsod

A 17th-century missionary, he became the Philippines’ second saint. He was named the country’s new patron saint of youth, as he is believed to have been just 17 when he was murdered in Guam in 1672 while attempting to convert natives. Calungsod was beatified as a martyr in 2000. He qualified for sainthood last year after the Vatican officially recognised a 2003 miracle in which a 49-year-old Filipina woman declared dead from a heart attack was revived after a doctor prayed to Calungsod for help.

Jacques Berthieu

He was a French Jesuit missionary who was killed in 1896 during a rebellion in Madagascar. Rebels had kidnapped him and demanded that he renounce his faith or die. He refused and was shot dead on the spot.

Anna Schaeffer

A native of Germany, she was a mystic who spent her life bedridden after badly burning her legs in a boiler. She had wanted to become a missionary, and in a sense she did, as people came to her for spiritual guidance. “She became an untiring intercessor in prayer and a mirror of God’s love for the many who sought her counsel,” the pope said Sunday. Schaeffer died in 1925 aged 43.

Maria Anne Cope

She was born in central Germany in 1838 but grew up in the United States. Adopting the name Marianne when she joined the Franciscan order, she worked with lepers in Hawaii, becoming known as “Mother Marianne of Molokai” — the remote island where she died in 1918 aged 80.

Giovanni Battista Piamarta

An Italian priest born in 1841 and orphaned when he was nine, he devoted his life to disadvantaged youth, founding a religious order in 1900. Today he can be considered the patron saint of job-seekers, his postulator Igor Manzillo said.

Maria del Carmen

She launched the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in 1892, devoted to education and present today in 16 countries. Born in 1848 near Barcelona, she also worked to improve training for poor women, defend their social conditions and promote the education of their children.


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