Monday, October 13, 2014

Pope Francis holds Thanksgiving mass for saints who spread faith in Canada

A pair of 17th-century Canadian missionaries, who were both elevated to sainthood in April, were commemorated in a Thanksgiving mass held by Pope Francis in Rome on Sunday.

Saint Marie of the Incarnation and Saint Francois de Laval helped spread and establish the Roman Catholic faith to some of the most remote areas of what is now Canada.

Marie -- a widowed, single mother -- was an early New France settler. She is credited as being the founder of a convent and school that educated the daughters of the French settlers and the First Nation members. Laval, who was the first bishop of then-New France, was known for his work of protecting First Nation members from exploitation.

Both Catholic leaders were canonized by way of equivalent canonization, a method of sainthood-by-decree that is generally reserved for those with a longstanding track record in the church.

Among the faithful who travelled to Rome to attend the Pope's traditional Sunday blessing in St. Peter's Square was a large Canadian delegation, including the archbishop of Quebec.


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