20 Dec 2009

Australia to have its first Catholic saint

1:58 pm on 20 December 2009

Australia is to have its first Catholic saint. Pope Benedict XVI has approved a second miracle attributed to Mother Mary Mackillop.

Two confirmed miracles are required for sainthood, so the Pope's decision clears the way for her to be canonised at a ceremony next year.

Mary McKillop (1842-1909) was a nun who co-founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart order. Two seriously ill people are considered to have recovered through her intercession when prayed to.

Pope Benedict has also moved two of his predecessors, Pius XII and John Paul II, closer to Catholic sainthood.

The beatification of Pius, who was Pope during the Second World War, has been a source of tension with some Jewish groups. They have accused him of not doing enough to prevent the deaths of Jews during the Holocaust.