The names of seven men and women were added to the calendar of the Church's saints yesterday, Sunday, in St Peter's square, Rome.
Among those canonised included the first Native American Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. She was baptised by a Jesuit missionary in 1676 but died four years later at the age of 24. Born near New York she later moved to Montreal.
In his homily Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed Saint Kateri as "protectress of Canada" and said: "we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America."
The Pope also canonised Marianne Cope (1838-1918), who worked with St Damien of Molokai with those suffering from leprosy in the island of Molokai, Hawaii. A sister of Saint Francis of Syracuse, New York, she ran a hospital for leprosy sufferers in Honolulu.
The others canonised yesterday were: Jacques Berthieu, a French missionary to Madagascar (1838-96), Pedro Calungsod, a martyr from the Philippines (1655-72), Giovanni Battista Piamarta, a priest who set up an educational institute for the poor in Brescia, northern Italy (1841-1913) Carmen Sallés y Barangueras, Spanish founder of a missionary order (1848-1911) and Anna Schäffer, a German laywoman (1882-1925).
Above: A statue of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha at the shrine dedicated to her in Fonda, New York. Photo: CNS/Nancy Phelan Wiechec