Pope Francis led a two-hour canonization Mass of 10 new saints in St. Peter’s Square May 15 attended by more than 45,000 people. It was the first canonization since October 2019.
Joining the cardinals, bishops and other distinguished guests were the president of Italy, the foreign minister of the Netherlands, the French interior minister and India’s minister for minorities.
Among the new saints was Dutch priest Titus Brandsma, whose opposition to Nazi neo-paganism and vehement defense of the Jews brought him into the Nazi crosshairs. He traveled throughout the country, under occupation, to persuade his colleagues to resist pressure to forward Nazi propaganda. Arrested in January 1942, he was transported to Dachau concentration camp where he was killed by lethal injection. Pope John Paul II beatified Brandsma as a martyr in 1985.
Francis also canonized an 18th-century Hindu convert to Christianity known as Devasahayam. Born in 1712 in the southern Indian kingdom then known as Travancore, he was baptized in 1745 and given the name Lazarus. He fought against caste discrimination, regularly eating with people of lower casts. His conversion was viewed as an act of treason. In 1752, he was arrested and for nearly a year taken from village to village, where he was publicly tortured, and finally executed by firing squad.
The pope also conferred sainthood on four French and Italian priests and four nuns from France and Italy who founded religious orders.
“To serve the Gospel and our brothers and sisters, to offer our lives without expecting anything in return, or any worldly glory: this is our calling. That was how our fellow travelers canonized today lived their holiness,” Pope Francis said.
“They discovered an incomparable joy and they became brilliant reflections of the Lord of history. For that is what a saint is: a luminous reflection of the Lord of history.”
“May we strive to do the same…”
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