A Look at Pope Francis' 1st Round of Saints

They include hundreds who refused to convert to Islam
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 12, 2013 7:28 AM CDT
A Look at Pope Francis' 1st Round of Saints
The tapestry of Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya of Colombia hangs from a balcony in St. Peter's Square prior to a canonization ceremony led by Pope Francis Sunday, May 12, 2013.   (Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis has made hundreds of new saints at his first canonization ceremony in St. Peter's Square. Here is a look at the people receiving the Church's highest honor:

  • Antonio Pezzulla and 812 fellow martyrs: In 1480, some 20,000 Turkish troops overran Italy's citadel of Otranto, and beheaded 813 men for refusing to convert to Islam. Their sainthood was approved by Pope Benedict, notes the AP, and though Francis has called for increased dialogue with Islam, this selection could prove sensitive.

  • Laura of St. Catherine of Siena Montoya Y Upegui: Colombia's first saint was born in 1874, and worked as a teacher and spiritual mother to indigenous people. She and five other women began a new religious order, the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Virgin, who today work in 21 nations. She died in 1949.
  • Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala: A Mexican woman, born in 1878, who dedicated herself to helping the sick. She helped Catholics avoid persecution during a government crackdown on the faith, including hiding the archbishop of Guadalajara for 1 1/2 years. She co-founded an order of nuns, the Congregation of the Servants of St. Margaret Maria and of the Poor. She died in 1963.
(Read more Pope Francis stories.)

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