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Pope Benedict XVI has canonized Sister Mary MacKillop as the first Roman Catholic saint from Australia.

Thousands of Australians gathered in St Peter's Square in Rome, many carrying national flags, as the pope conducted the canonization ceremony, telling pilgrims.

"The beatified being proclaimed saints today, with their strong faith in Jesus Christ, have on the road to salvation, through their lives and through their work, shown man through the heart of God," Benedict said.

In Australia, thousands filled churches and took to the streets in celebration of the event.

MacKillop, who died in 1909 at the age of 67, is revered as a pioneer of education in Outback, or remote, Australia, and as the founder of the country's first religious order, the Sisters Of St. Joseph Of The Sacred Heart.

She has been credited with a number of miracles, including two that have been recognized by the Vatican.

Individuals from Canada, Spain, Poland, and Italy were also canonized as saints at the Vatican.

compiled from agency reports