French, Italian nuns canonised too
Two 19th-century nuns on Sunday became the first Palestinians to gain sainthood during an open-air mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square attended by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
The pontiff urged the faithful to follow the “luminous example” of the two 19th-century sisters and two others, from France and Italy, who were canonised along with them on a sunny spring morning. Marie Alphonsine Ghattas was born in 1843 in Jerusalem during its rule by the Ottoman Empire, and died there during the British mandate period in 1927. She was beatified — the final step before canonisation — in 2009. Mariam Bawardy was born in Galilee, now in northern Israel, in 1846. She became a nun in France and died in Bethlehem in 1878 and was beatified by pope John Paul II in 1983. Around 2,000 pilgrims from the Palestinian territories, Israel and Jordan, some waving Palestinian flags, attended the mass as well as Abbas, who had a private audience with the pope on Saturday. ∞∞∞∞∞ www.asianage.com ∞∞∞∞∞