VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope John Paul II elevated four men and two women to sainthood on May 16, including a mother who gave up her life to save the life of her unborn child.
The Pope said “this holy mother”, St Gianna Beretta Molla, followed Christ’s example of loving one’s “own in the world and loving them to the end”.
Pietro Molla, who is more than 90 years old and the modern Church’s first living husband of a saint, looked on with his two daughters, one son, and other relatives as the Pope recited the formula of canonisation.
Many of the newly canonised were Italian, but the canonisation of St Nimatullah Kassab al-Hardini, a 19th century Lebanese Maronite monk, gave the ceremony a touch of the Middle East.
Also canonised on May 16 were:
- St Luigi Orione, an Italian priest and founder of the Sons of Divine Providence and the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity. He was born in 1872 and died in 1940.
- St Josep Manyanet Vives, a Spanish priest and founder of the Sons of the Holy Family and the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. He lived from 1833-59.
- St Annibale Di Francia, an Italian priest born in Messina, Italy in 1851. He founded the Daughters of Divine Zeal and the Rogationist Fathers. He died in 1927.
- St Paola Elisabetta Cerioli, founder of the men’s Congregation of the Holy Father and the Sisters of the Holy Family. She was born near Cremona, Italy in 1816 and died in 1865. She became a religious after her husband and four children died.