Australian pilgrims captured by the Herald Sun
Aussie pilgrims out-cheered the Italians, Poles, Canadians and Spanish gathered at the Vatican to celebrate Sunday's canonisations, gathering from the wee hours of the morning to witness the historic occasion.
The Herald Sun reports that pilgrims, dressed in green and gold, lined up outside St Peter's Basilica in the dark at 5am. A brief downpour and Italian queue jumpers failed to quell the ecstatic atmosphere.
The signature "Aussie, Aussie Aussie" chant was replaced with "Mary, Mary Mary, oi, oi, oi", while others sang hymns.
"This is history for our nation," Colette Browning, 49, of Harvey, Western Australia, said. "Who knows if any of us will ever see this again in our lifetime. What a great day and what a great woman."
Among the jubilant crowd was nine-year-old Sophie Delezio who sat looking tired in the front row of the crowd. Her father Ron Delezio, joined by Sophie's mother Carolyn Martin and younger brother Mitchell, said Sophie was "very excited" by the ceremony. "It will be an amazing day," he said.
For many young pilgrims, yesterday's declaration in the square was a moment of spiritual clarity.
"It has given me so much hope, to finally realise an Australian can become a saint," Genevieve Exton, 19, of Geelong, said.
"I feel it is possible for me as an Australian to achieve that. It has given more hope than I can possibly imagine."
Pilgrims cry: 'Mary, Mary, Mary, oi, oi, oi' (Herald Sun)
Image from the Herald Sun report