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The story behind Palestine's canonized nuns

The Vatican has lifted Palestinian spirits with its recognition of the state of Palestine, canonization of two Palestinian nuns and reference to President Mahmoud Abbas as an “angel of peace.”
A Palestinian flag waves in front of a tapestry of Mariam Baouardy Haddad before Pope Francis leads a ceremony for the canonisation of four nuns at Saint Peter's square in the Vatican City, May 17, 2015.  The four nuns being canonised include two Palestininan nuns, Marie Alphonsine Ghattas, founder of the first Catholic congregation in Palestine, and Mariam Baouardy Haddad, who established a Carmelite convent in Bethlehem.      REUTERS/Tony Gentile - RTX1DB51

The Vatican gave Palestine three gifts within the span of a few days. On May 13, it recognized Palestine, thereby making the state of Palestine, rather than the Palestine Liberation Organization, its official diplomatic point of reference. The Vatican also ameliorated years of struggle by Palestinians on May 17 by canonizing two Palestinian nuns who were born and served in the 19th century. On the day the nuns were proclaimed saints, Pope Francis referred to the leader of the Palestinian national movement, President Mahmoud Abbas, as an “angel of peace.”

The story of the two nuns has been told repeatedly among Palestinians, passed from generation to generation, but now their narratives are officially part of Catholic Church history, along with those of saints who lived and served with Jesus Christ in Palestine and throughout the world.

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