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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 October 2006, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Pope Benedict names four saints
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI has canonised nine saints so far
Pope Benedict XVI has canonised four new saints on the steps of St Peter's Basilica in Rome, the second such ceremony of his pontificate.

The four saints included a Mexican bishop who suffered anti-clerical persecution and an Italian nun who pioneered women's schooling.

Thousands of people attended the outdoor ceremony in Rome.

Pope Benedict is considered to be less ready to canonise saints than his predecessor, John Paul II.

Educational pioneers

But he has now canonised nine people since his inauguration last April.

John Paul II canonised 482 saints during his 27-year pontificate.

The new saints were Bishop Rafael Guizar Valencia (1878-1938), Filippo Smaldone (1848-1923), Mother Theodore Guerin (1798-1856), and Rosa Venerini (1656-1728).

Bishop Guizar Valencia disguised himself to care for the wounded during the anti-clerical Mexican revolution, while Italian priest Filippo Smaldone founded an order of nuns and schools for the deaf.

Mother Theodore Guerin pioneered schools and religious institutions on the American frontier, while Rosa Venerini helped to establish Italy's first public schools for girls.

"The Church rejoices in the four new saints," Benedict told the crowd.

"May their example inspire us and their prayers obtain for us guidance and courage."

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