The Vatican has held a ceremony to name seven new saints including the first Native American to ever be beatified.

Led by Pope Benedict XVI, the special mass marks the start of a new drive by the Catholic church to deepen the spirituality of followers in a "Year Of Faith".

In order to qualify for sainthood a nominee must be recognised as responsible for a miracle. Seventeenth-century Native American Kateri Tekakwitha has been recognised as saving the life of a child who was suffering from a flesh-eating bacterium.

Other figures being beatified include a Spanish nun, a German preacher and a French Jesuit who was executed in Madagascar.

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  • Tapestries of saints-to-be from left; Kateri Tekakwitha, Maria del Carmen, Pedro Calungsod, Jacques Berthieu, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Mother Marianne Cope, and Anna Shaeffer hang from St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican,

  • The tapestry of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first American Indian to achieve sainthood, hangs from the St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican

  • The tapestry of Anna Shaeffer, a German lay woman, hangs from the St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican

  • The tapestry of Maria del Carmen, the Spanish founder of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching

  • The tapestry of Giovanni Battista Piamarta

  • The tapestry of Jacques Berthieu, a French jesuit executed in Madagascar

  • The tapestry of Mother Marianne Cope

  • The tapestry of Pedro Calungsod, of the Philippines, who was killed on the island of Guam when he visited with a Jesuit priest to baptise a young girl

  • Tourists walk in St. Peter's Square as tapestries of saints-to-be

  • From left, Donny, Jake, and Elsa Finkbonner, of Ferndale, Washington, pose for a photo after an interview with the Associated Press, in Rome, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. Jake was infected with a flesh-eating bacteria in 2006, when he was five years old, and his prognosis was so grave that his parents had last rites performed and were discussing donating his organs. The Vatican determined that Jake’s cure was a miracle due to the intercession of Kateri Tekakwitha, a 17th century Native American who is among seven people who will be declared saints on Sunday by Pope Benedict XVI