OTTAWA, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday the canonization of the first North American Indian saint this fall would be "a deep honor for our country."
Pope Benedict XVI announced at the Vatican during the weekend that 17th century Quebec Mohawk Kateri Tekakwitha would be canonized Oct. 21 along with six other saints.
"This will be a great day for Canadian Catholics and a deep honor for our country," Harper said in a statement.
Tekakwitha, who is entombed at St. Francis Xavier Mission in Kahnawake, Quebec, was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980 and Benedict has approved miracles attributed to her, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. noted.
Tekakwitha was born in and lived most of her life in New York state before fleeing to Kahnawake to escape opposition to her devotion to Christianity. She was 24 when she died in 1680.
Rome Reports said the six other new saints are American Marianne Cope, Maria del Monte Carmelo of Spain, Pedro Calungsod of the Philippines, Giovanni Battista Piamarta of Italy, Jacques Berthieu of France and Anna Schafer of Germany.