More than a hundred thousand people packed St. Peter's Square on Sunday (14 September) to?
More than a hundred thousand people packed St. Peter's Square on Sunday (14 September) to take part in ceremonies proclaiming Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton America's first native born saint.
Mother Saton, who was born a protestant in New York in 1774 married when she was 19 and had five children before her husband died nine years later. She later became a Catholic and founded the religious order, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph who now number eight thousand, and are working to help others in three continents.
To be proclaimed a Saint, evidence had to be presented to the Pope that at least two miracles had been due to the intercession of Mother Seton and were therefore construed as signs from God that she was worthy of sainthood. At least three miracles involving the curing of three terminally ill people were attributed to relics from Mother Seton being pressed to the afflicted part of the sufferer. Two of these were accepted by the Pope as proof, and a young woman and an old man cured by these miracles were at Sunday's canonization.
During the day Pope Paul said he was especially pleased that the canonization had come during International Women's Year and proclaimed Sunday Women's day for the Catholic World. In honour of this women participated for the first time every in the canonization service - four of them giving accounts in French, Spanish, Italian and english of Mother Seton's life.