A Swedish-born nun known for hiding Jews from the Nazis during the Holocaust was among two new Catholic clergy members proclaimed as saints by Pope Francis on Sunday.
Elizabeth Hesselblad—who converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism—saved the lives of 12 Jews by hiding them in a convent in Rome where she was the head of the female religious community from December 1943 until the city’s liberation in 1944. She made no attempt to convert the Jews to Christianity, instead insisting that they continue to recite their Hebrew prayers and undertake other tenets of their Jewish faith.
Hesselblad earned the title of “righteous among the nations,” given to gentiles who saved Jews during the Holocaust, from Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum. She died in 1957 of natural causes and was beatified in 2000.
During a canonization mass in St. Peter’s Square, the pope said Hesselblad and the other new saint, Stanislaus Papczynski, were both “exemplary witnesses to this mystery of resurrection,” the Associated Press reported. Hasselblad is the second Swedish saint in six centuries, after St. Bridget, who was canonized in 1391.