Pope to grant two Palestinian nuns sainthood
Pope Francis is expected in Rome's St Peter's Square to canonize two nuns who lived during Ottoman-ruled Palestine
Two Palestinian nuns who lived during Ottoman-ruled Palestine will be declared as new saints in Rome's St Peter's Square by Pope Francis, the BBC reported on Sunday.
Marie Alphonsine Ghattas and Mariam Bawardy will be canonized in a ceremony expected to be attended by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and more than 2,000 Christian pilgrims from the region.
Ghattas, one of the two native Arabic speaker nuns, was born to a Palestinian family in Jerusalem. She co-founded the Congregation of the Rosary Sisters, which today runs a number of kindergartens and schools.
Bawardy was born in Galilee to Greek Catholic parents from Syria and Lebanon, who is said to have carried out miracles and to have experienced stigmata (wounds representing those suffered by Jesus on the cross).
This is seen as a step taken by the Vatican as a token of support for fellow Christians living in the Middle East.
Pope Francis called Abbas "an angel of peace" when they met at the Vatican on Saturday.
The visit came days after the Vatican formally recognized Palestinian as a state in a new treaty.
The treaty states that the Vatican is in favor of a two-state solution to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine, allowing the Vatican to supervise aspects of Roman Catholic life in the areas that fall under Abbas’ controls.
Israel expressed disappointment with the treaty, which uses the term "Palestinian state."
The total number of Christians in Israel and the Palestinian has seen a significant declined in recent years to less than 2 percent of the population, according to the BBC.