Pope Benedict XVI will name seven more saints Sunday, including the first Native American, in an attempt to revive faith in Catholicism.
Two of the new saints are Americans — Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint and Mother Maria Anna Cope, a 19th century Franciscan nun who cared for lepers in Hawaii — while the others are of French, Philippine, German, Italian and Spanish descent, news agencies reported.
Tekakwitha (1656-1680), daughter of an Algonquin mother and a Mohawk father, was converted by Jesuit missionaries as a child. She survived smallpox and was orphaned at an early age, but earned a spiritual following before dying at the age of 24.
Maria Anna Cope (1838-1918), a German-born Franciscan nun, became known as “Mother Marianne of Molokai" due to her taking care of lepers on the island of Molokai in Hawaii.
Among the saints being canonized is a Philippine seminarian Pedro Calungsod (1654-1672) who helped Jesuit priests convert natives in Guam but was martyred at the age of 17 by villagers opposed to efforts of missionaries to baptize their children.
A French Jesuit, Jacques Berthieu (1838 – 1896), who was shot in Madagascar by rebels for his work in replacing ancestor worship with Christianity, is also among the figures to be canonized.
Giovanni Battista Piamarta (1841-1913), an Italian who founded a religious order and established a Catholic printing and publishing house in his native Brescia in northern Italy, is also among the list.
Carmen Salles Y Barangueras (1848 -1911), the Spanish founder of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, will also be rewarded for her work with disadvantaged women and commercial sex workers, who saw that early education was essential for young women.
Anna Schaffer (1882 -1925) a lay German woman, whose desire to become a missionary was impeded by a succession of physical accidents and diseases will also be recognized by the Catholic Church.
With the new canonizations the number of saints named by the Pope since the beginning of his pontificating in 2005 totals 44.
Catholic saints, recognized for their exceptional degree of holiness, sanctity and virtue, need to have two miracles to their names, which has to be certified by the Vatican in a year-long procedure.