Pope Francis Sunday raised the first Uruguayan national to sainthood from St. Peter's Square when he canonized Mother Francisca Rubatto, an Italian-Uruguayan nun who lived between 1844 and 1904.
The Argentina-born pontiff, who remained seated, due to his ailing knee recognized Rubatto's work helping the poor in several South American countries. It was the first such ceremony in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic; nine other saints were proclaimed, including French mystic Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916), Dutch journalist Titus Brandsma, executed in the Nazi extermination camp of Dachau in 1942, and Lazarus, a Hindu martyr of the 18th century.
These saints fostered social and spiritual growth, while sadly tensions, wars, and distances in the world are increasing. May the new saints inspire dialogue and especially the hearts and minds of those who hold positions of responsibility and are called to be protagonists of peace and not of war, the Pope underlined.
The 10 candidates were inscribed in the Book of Saints so that they may be venerated by the Church in what was one of the largest canonizations in history.
The portraits of the ten new saints hung from the façade of St. Peter's Basilica in front of about 50,000 pilgrims, according to Vatican data. Among the attending guests were Italian President Sergio Mattarella, France's Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra, and Uruguayan Bishop Carlos Collazzi, a former president of the South American country's Episcopal Conference.
The 85-year-old Pope arrived by car at the altar and avoided using a wheelchair as has been the case in recent days.
Several religious services are to take place throughout Uruguay to mark the occasion, including one on May 29 at Montevideo's Cathedral. Mother Rubatto was blessed by Pope John Paul II Oct. 10, 1993, after she was recognized by the Church in 2020 for having interceded in a second miracle, which allowed her to reach the glory of the altars, as established by Vatican norms.