Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing upon arrival in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican to hold a pre-trip prayer service for the Catholic faithfu. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict has added seven more saints to the roster of Catholic role models, including two Americans.
Kateri Tekakwitha (teh-kuh-KWIH'-thuh) is the first Native American saint from the U.S. The other is Mother Marianne Cope, a 19th century Franciscan nun who cared for lepers in Hawaii.
Both came from what is now upstate New York, although they lived two centuries apart.
About 80,000 pilgrims filled St. Peter's Square for the celebrations, which began at dawn with Native Americans in beaded and feathered headdresses and leather-fringed tunics singing songs to the beat of drums.
Later, the crowd cheered as the pope read the names of the new saints in Latin and declared that they were worthy of veneration.
Benedict praised each of the seven as heroic and courageous examples for the entire church.