.- A half dozen Catholics will officially join the ranks of the Church's canonized saints this autumn. Pope Benedict XVI and the College of Cardinals approved the causes for sainthood of all of the "Blessed" candidates proposed in a consistory on Friday morning.
Pope Benedict announced that the canonization ceremony will take place on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010. The announcement was the result of the Ordinary Public Consistory, which was held in the Consistory Room of the Apostolic Palace.
The six destined for sainthood include Fr. Stanislaw Soltys of Poland, Br. Andre Bessette of Canada, Sr. Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola of Spain, Sr. Mary of the Cross MacKillop of Australia, and Srs. Giulia Salzano and Battista Varano of Italy.
Catholics in the "Land down under" are particularly excited, as they will celebrate the addition of the first Australian to the Canon of Catholic Saints. Australian media estimate that the canonization of Blessed Mary MacKillop, founder and director of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, will draw many thousands to the Vatican.
"The sisters rejoice with the Australian Church and people on this news," the Sisters' congregational leader was reported as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald. "We look forward to the canonization and give thanks that God did bless our country with such a model of goodness."
Sr. Maria Casey, postulator for the cause of Blessed MacKillop, told Rome Reports in an interview released on Thursday that, in addition to the miracles attributed to her for curing cancer, "She’s particularly good for women who don’t have children."
"We have hundreds of what we call Mary MacKillop babies," she added.
Although no details have been provided, canonization ceremonies are normally celebrated by the Pope in St. Peter's Square. The ceremony usually consists of a reading of the saint's life history, a prayer chanted by the Pope to enroll the saint in the Canon and an official recognition marked by the unfurling of a large tapestry bearing the image of the saint.