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Six new saints canonized, including St. Mary MacKillop, St. André Bessette

October 18, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI presided on October 17 at the canonization of six new saints for the universal Church, including the first Australian ever canonized and the first native Canadian male.

In his homily during the canonization Mass, Pope Benedict remarked that the day’s Scripture readings emphasized “the importance of ceaseless prayer.” He said that “we are tempted to dedicate ourselves to activity, to using human means to achieve our aims, without turning to God.” The saints being canonized that day, he observed, are examples of faithful Christians who never ceased to pray.

Cardinal George Pell of Sydney led a joyous delegation of 5,000 Australians to the ceremony, celebrating the canonization of Mary MacKillop (1842- 1901), the first Australian raised to the altars. The Pope acknowledged her prodigious service in education, but pointed out especially “her unflagging devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to whom she dedicated her new congregation.”

Another 5,000 pilgrims came from Canada for the canonization of St. André Bessette (1845-1937), a Holy Cross brother who gained international renown for holiness during his 40 years as the porter of the Notre Dame College in Montreal. The beloved “brother Andre,” who had a reputation for healing as well as sound spiritual counsel, founded the magnificent Oratory of St. Joseph in Montreal.

Also canonized in the same ceremony were Sts. Stanislao Soltys (1433- 1489), a Polish religious; St. Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola (1845- 1912), a Spanish religious; St. Giulia Salzano (1846- 1929), an Italian religious; and St. Battisat da Varano (1458- 1524), an Italian religious.


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