In a religious and political move, Pope Frances canonized two nuns from Palestine on Sunday. Sister Mariam Bawardy and Marie Alphonsine Ghattas are the first saints from the Holy Land since early Christianity and the act was performed in hopes to encourage Christians in the Middle East who are currently facing persecution from Islamic extremists. Bawardy, born in 1843, was a mystic and suffered the “stigmata” before founding a monastery in Bethlehem. Ghattas, born in 1847 Jerusalem, was an advocate of education for women and opened schools for girls while fighting female literacy. Her foundation, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Rosary, has outposts all over the Middle East.