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Catholic Saints Are Marching Into Latin America

Dudley Althaus - GlobalPost
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May 23, 2013

Pope Francis canonizes the first Colombian saint and the second female saint for Mexico, as well as some 800 Italians killed by Ottoman Turks in the 15th century when they refused to convert to Islam. (vatican)

MEXICO CITY - Many Roman Catholics believe their church's future may well hinge on the ability of Pope Francis, an Argentine barely two months into his reign, to revive the faith in Latin America.

That wager was underscored with Francis' recent canonization of two very different and long dead nuns — one Mexican and the other Colombian — who together enshrine the church's mission of both defending the faith and nurturing hope in the all but hopeless.

Mexico's Maria Guadalupe Garcia, known as Madre Lupita, and Colombian Laura Montoya, or Madre Laura, both founded religious orders aimed at nurturing the sick and dispossessed. But Madre Laura gained fame despite rejection by the church's clergy, while Madre Lupita won it defending the priests against revolutionary persecution nine decades ago.

Both nuns were marked for sainthood last December by former Pope Benedict, who announced their honor on the same day he told the world he was resigning his papacy. But they cherished values many perceive in Francis, a doctrinally conservative Jesuit renowned for his priestly order's personal austerity and concern for the plight of the poor.

The newest Latin American saints join a handful of others from a region that's now home to about 40 percent of the world's baptized Catholics.

Read the rest at GlobalPost

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