VATICAN CITY, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI Sunday canonized six new saints, including the first from Australia and first male saint from Canada, in Saint Peter's Square in Rome.
Tens of thousands of Catholics, some waving Canadian and Australian flags, attended the open-air canonization ceremony, the Voice of America reported Sunday.
The first native-born Canadian male saint is Andre Bessette, a 19th-century lay brother known for his suffering and poverty while the first Australian saint is nun Mary MacKillop, who established the country's first religious order, the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, which is devoted to the poor and needy.
"For many years countless young people throughout Australia have been blessed with teachers who were inspired by the courageous and saintly example of zeal, perseverance and prayer of Mother Mary MacKillop," the pope said.
MacKillop was excommunicated for exposing sexual abuse by an Irish Catholic priest in 1969, the report said.
The other new saints are the 19th-century founder of a nuns' order near Naples, Giulia Salzano; a 15th-century nun from Marche, Camilla Battista da Varano; a 15th-century Polish priest, Stanislaw Soltys; and the 19th-century Spanish founder of another religious order, Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola.