Pope Benedict XVI has approved the second miracle needed for an Australian woman to be declared the country's first saint.

Benedict approved a decree saying that a miracle occurred thanks to the intercession of Mother Mary Mackillop, who helped spread Roman Catholicism across the Australian outback in the late 1800s and is known for her pioneering work among the needy.

Mackillop died in 1909 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995.

The Vatican didn't say Saturday what the purported miracle involved, but Australian media said it concerned the medically inexplicable healing of a woman with leukemia.

No date was set for the canonization ceremony.

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