Following in the footsteps of Paul VI and John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated World Mission Sunday by canonizing seven new Saints. Tens of thousands of pilgrims from around the world gathered in Saint Peter’s Square as Jacques Berthieu, Pedro Calungsod, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Marìa Carmen Sallés y Barangueras, Marianne Cope, Kateri Tekakwitha, and Anna Schäffer were raised to the honours of the altar.
The Pope gave a brief reflection on the life and works of each of the new saints. Among them is Pedro Calungsod from the Philippines. Pedro “displayed deep faith and charity and continued to catechise his many converts, giving witness to Christ by a life of purity and dedication to faith.” Saint Pedro was martyred in 1672.
Marianne Cope, also canonised today, was born in Germany but moved to the United States at a very young age. She joined the Franciscan order and became Superior General of her congregation. She eventually answered the call to serve the lepers in the Hawaiian island of Molokai. “At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage, and enthusiasm.”