World

Pope says thanksgiving Mass for 2 saints who spread faith in Canada

  • Pope Francis leaves after he celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for the canonization of two Canadian saints, St. Francis de Laval and St. Mary of the Incarnation, in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican,  Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    Pope Francis leaves after he celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for the canonization of two Canadian saints, St. Francis de Laval and St. Mary of the Incarnation, in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis delivers his blessing during the Angelus noon prayer he celebrated from the window of his studio overlooking st.Peter's square, at the Vatican,  Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    Pope Francis delivers his blessing during the Angelus noon prayer he celebrated from the window of his studio overlooking st.Peter's square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis leaves after he celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for the canonization of two Canadian saints, St. Francis de Laval and St. Mary of the Incarnation, in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican,  Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    Pope Francis leaves after he celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for the canonization of two Canadian saints, St. Francis de Laval and St. Mary of the Incarnation, in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

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.