VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has held a Mass of thanksgiving for the canonization of two 17th-century missionaries who spread Roman Catholicism through what is today Canada.
Francis said in his homily Sunday that Saint Francis de Laval and Saint Marie of the Incarnation spread their faith "to the smallest and most remote." The two missionaries were elevated to sainthood in April.
The pope also welcomed Canadian pilgrims who had traveled to Rome during his traditional Sunday blessing in St. Peter's Square.
Saint Francis de Laval was the first bishop of New France and known for his work to defend Native Americans from exploitation.
Saint Marie of the Incarnation was an Ursuline nun who founded a convent and school that provided equal education to the daughters of French settlers and Native Americans.