A decades-long process came to an end as two Upstate New York women were officially recognized as saints. Marianne Cope and Kateri Tekakwitha were canonized during a special mass early Sunday morning. YNN's Bill Carey was at the Vatican for the ceremony.
VATICAN CITY -- The official estimate is 80,000. It was a sea of faces packing St. Peter's Square for one of the Catholic Church's most important ceremonies, a canonization.
Overall there were seven names added to the rolls of saints by the Catholic Church, and two of them were from the United States. Mother Marianne Cope was German born, but was raised in Central New York where she helped establish hospitals before moving to a new mission in Hawaii, where she treated those afflicted with leprosy.
"At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage, and enthusiasm," said Pope Benedict XVI.
There was also Kateri Tekakwitha, who became the first Native American saint. Saint Gadalee was what the Mohawks called her, was cited for her work among her people.
"Leading a simple life, Kateri remained faithful to her love for Jesus, to prayers, and to daily mass," said Pope Benedict XVI.
New York's top Catholic leader said the canonization was a vital step for the church in reaching out in a modern world. He quoted former Pope, Paul XI.
"He said contemporary men and women, they don't learn from words anymore. They learn from witness. They learn from action. And here, we got seven people from all parts of the world who give witness, who were lives of action, and actions speak louder than words," noted Cardinal Timothy Dolan, New York Archdiocese.
Dolan added that New Yorkers should be proud that two of the newest saints have ties to their home state.
"We get excited about the Yankees, I do. Unfortunately, that excitement was frustrated this week. I get excited about the St. Louis Cardinals, and I haven't lost hope in them yet. And we're getting excited in saints. This is tremendous," exclaimed Cardinal Dolan.