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Sainthood of two Indians, four Italians declared by Pope in Vatican City


Vatican City (Nov. 23, 2014): Pope Francis conferred sainthood on two Indians and four Italians on Sunday, praising their "creative" commitment to helping the poor.

Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia from India were conferred sainthood at a special canonisation mass, in a moment of elation and spiritual fervour for the Christians in India.

Portraits of the newly sanctified hung from St. Peter's Basilica, in front of which 5,000 Keralan Catholics and two local government ministers joined the crowd, according to the Union of Catholic Asian News.

Carmelite nun Sister Eufrasia was sanctified with Kuriakose Elias Chavara, who founded the sisterhood she belonged to.

Eufrasia, canonised six years after India's first female saint, was born to an aristocratic family in 1877 and took a vow of chastity aged nine.

Chavara founded two Carmelite congregations in India in the 19th century, and decreed that every church should have its own school.

Applause rang out on Sunday when Francis said the Italian saints - who between them founded refuges for pilgrims, street urchins and the sick - could inspire citizens today.

The Italian saints were Giovanni Antonio Farina, Bishop of Vicenza in the late 1800s; missionary Ludovico da Casoria, and fellow Franciscans Nicola da Longobardi and Amato Ronconi.

The often decades-long process of considering a person for sainthood must normally wait until they have been dead for five years, and have been credited with bringing about two miracles.

A pope can bypass the five-year rule, as Francis's predecessor Benedict did for John Paul II, who had in turn started the process of sanctifying Mother Teresa of Calcutta within five years after her death in 1997.