The Catholic Church has beatified a gypsy for the first time in its history. Emilia Fernandez, also known as "La Canastera", was recognised for her martyrdom in the Spanish Civil War.

Several thousands of Catholics were killed because of their religious beliefs by Republicans during the 1936-39 conflict. Fernandez, a gypsy, was one of 115 that were beatified on Saturday (25 March) in in the Palace of Congresses and Exhibitions of Aguadulce, in Roquetas de Mar, Almería.

The Archbishop of Granada, Francisco Javier Martínez Fernández consecrated the dead. He said: "This land became the land of conquest of the horses of the Apocalypse ... it seemed that the kingdom of Antichrist had taken possession of your blessed land."

"Christianity is the religion of the charity of life and opposes all forms of prevarication and violence."

The beatification of 90 diocesan priests, 22 laymen – among them Fernandez and one other woman – a Franciscan religious and two operative priests, were murdered for "hatred of the faith", took place on Saturday.

More than 5,000 people, including members of the Catholic Church, relatives of the martyrs and around 350 gypsies witnessed the event.

Within Catholicism, beautification is a formal declaration that a dead person showed a heroic degree of holiness in their life and is worthy of public veneration. It is the first step towards canonization.

The Mexican Catholic Church recently announced that anyone who helps to build Donald Trump's border wall is a "traitor to the mother land".

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Emilia Fernandez, also known as 'La Canastera', has become the first gypsy to be beautified Matt Cardy/Getty Images