Pope Francis canonizes two Canadian church pioneers as saints

canadian On April 3rd, 2014 in Vatican City, Rome, Pope Francis canonized three blesseds by the process of “equivalent canonization,” two of which are Canadian church pioneers.  "The procedure  requires a thorough study of the candidates' life and writings, fame of holiness and reports of favours granted through their intercession, but not the verification of a miracle through their intercession, nor further studies by historians and theologians working for the Congregation for Saints' Causes," said CatholicCulture.org.

The two new Canadian saints  are Blessed François de Laval (1623-1708), the first bishop of Quebec;  and Blessed Marie of the Incarnation (1599-1672), who introduced the Ursuline order in Canada.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper  issued the following statement :

“Today, I welcome the very exciting news from the Vatican that His Holiness Pope Francis has officially proclaimed Canadians Marie de l’Incarnation and François de Laval as Saints.

“It is entirely fitting that this recognition be given to two outstanding Canadians who were pillars of the early Church in Canada and whose lives exemplified faith and piety.

“This is a tremendous honour for Canada and a wonderful day for Catholics.”

Saint Marie de l'Incarnation, often referred to as the “Mother of the Canadian Church,” was an Ursuline nun who founded Canada’s first school. Fluent in local languages, she taught the children of both the settlers and the Aboriginal population.

Saint François de Laval was the second Catholic bishop in North America and laid the foundations for the Church in French Canada. As a missionary to New France, he rejected his family’s wealth to faithfully pursue his spiritual vocation.

Both were beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1980 and declared Saints by Pope Francis on April 3, 2014. They served and died in what is today QuébecCity, where they are buried.