During a meeting Monday with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, the pope signed a decree recognizing that Mother Marie-Anne-Marcelle Mallet lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way and is venerable.
Mallet, who was born in Montreal in 1805 and died in Quebec in 1871, founded the Sisters of Charity with five other sisters in 1849.
The institute, dedicated to the care of children, the sick and the elderly, operates today in Canada, the United States, Japan, Paraguay, Argentina and Congo.
In each case, verification of a miracle attributed to the venerable person's intercession is needed for his or her beatification.
Also on Monday, the pope recognized the martyrdom of Fr. Pedro Asua Mendia, a Basque priest and architect killed in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.
The recognition of Asua's martyrdom clears the way for his beatification.