Pope Canonizes Four Europeans
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VATICAN CITY (AP) _ Pope John Paul II elevated four Europeans to sainthood Sunday, bringing to 456 the number of people he has canonized in his 23-year papacy.
The pontiff praised the profound spirituality of the four in a solemn ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica, where images of the new saints were displayed on tapestries.
Among them was Francoise Sales Aviat, a 19th century French nun who founded the Congregation of the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales, dedicated to helping young women pouring into cities during the Industrial Revolution.
One of the miracles attributed to her intercession was the 1992 healing of an American teen-ager living near Philadelphia who was nearly paralyzed by a spinal disease.
Also canonized Sunday was the former bishop of the Italian city of Asti, Giuseppe Marello, who founded the Oblates of St. Joseph; Sister Paula Montal Fornes, the Spanish founder of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary; and Sister Maria Crescentia Hoss, a Bavarian-born nun.
The 81-year-old pope has canonized more people than all his predecessors of the last 500 years combined, viewing sainthood as a way to highlight role models for Catholics and bring recognition to the church in different countries.
The pope has also beatified 1,282 people _ the last step before elevation to sainthood.