Pope Francis leaves the Papal consistory at the Vatican
Vatican City - AFP
Pope Francis announced Saturday that he will elevate four women to sainthood in May, all nuns who lived in the 19th century and founded Catholic orders -- one French, one Italian and two Palestinians.
The canonisation will take place on May 17, the pope announced at the end of a consistory, or a meeting of cardinals, at the Vatican.
Palestinian nun Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas (1843-1927) founded the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of Jerusalem, the first Palestinian congregation, which is dedicated to working with the elderly and small children.
The other Palestinian nun, Mariam Baouardi (1846-1878), was a mystic who helped to found a monastery in Bethlehem.
French nun Jeanne Emilie de Villeneuve, born in the southwestern city of Toulouse in 1811, founded an order that today counts some 700 nuns working in 16 countries.
The order, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of Castres, runs around 50 colleges with 35,000 new students each year.
Italian sister Maria Cristina dell'Immacolata (1856-1906) was from southern Naples and also founded an order, the Sisters Expiatory Victims of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, which runs convents, shelters for young women, orphanages and schools.