Three of the best-loved leaders in the history of the Roman Catholic church will be united this weekend when Pope Francis makes his predecessors, Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, saints in a special ceremony in St Peter’s Square.
The two canonization candidates share an improbable path to sainthood: they both rose from very humble beginnings to lead the Roman Catholic church.
John XXIII (1881-1963) — known as Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli before he became Pope — was one of 13 children born into a family of Italian peasants, farmers from a tiny village in the country’s north, before being sent away to study for the priesthood at the age of 11.
John Paul II (1920-2005), born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, was brought up in a grimy industrial town in Poland and raised by his…
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