Pope OKs 7 new saints, including Hawaii's Marianne

December 19, 2011 - 11:01 AM

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has approved seven new saints for the Catholic Church, including Hawaii's Mother Marianne and a 17th-century Native American, Caterina Tekakwitha.

Benedict signed decrees Tuesday approving miracles attributed to the intecession of the seven, clearing the last hurdle before their canonizations.

Benedict also signed decrees that 65 Catholics died as martyrs during Spain's civil war and will be beatified, one step shy of possible sainthood.

Marianne cared for leprosy patients on Hawaii's Molokai peninsula in the late 1880s, soon after the death of Father Damien, who was canonized in 2009. Tekakwitha, who lived from 1656-1680 in the U.S. and Canada, became the first Native American to be beatified in 1980.