Pope Francis elevates new saints as he canonizes two Indians and 4 Italians for their creative answers to God’s call.
Pope Francis has become very popular – with Catholics and non-Catholics alike – during his papacy because he reaches out to people, regardless of background, country, or culture. He has continued to surprise people with his latest decision, which is to canonize two Indian people and four Italian people because of their “creative” expressions of worshiping God and helping the needy.
In his speech announcing his decision to canonize the six people, he stated that: “They responded with extraordinary creativity to the commandment of love of God and neighbour. Their preference for the smallest and poorest was the reflection and measure of their unconditional love of God.” Many see his decision to recognise those that act selflessly for the poor a continuation of Pope Francis’ focus – especially as he chose his papal name, Francis, after St Francis of Assisi who dedicated his life to the poor.
The new Italian saints between them have created refuges for street children, the unwell who have no one to care for them, and pilgrims coming to the Holy Vatican city. One of the new Indian saints was born to a rich and powerful family in 1877, but chose to be a nun at the age of nine. Taking the name of Euphrasia Eluventhinkal, she dedicated her life to the poor and needy in India. Kuriakose Elias Chavara, who started Euphrasia’s order, was also canonized into sainthood. Chavara was a strong believer in education, and worked towards every church having its own school.
When Pope Francis announced these six new saints, the people listening to him in Rome applauded him. Many are glad that Pope Francis is recognising these charitable Christians who have not always been embraced by the more conservative parts of the Catholic Church.