Mother Theresa, a humble Catholic nun who committed herself to caring for India’s poor in Calcutta, was made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church yesterday at the Vatican during a canonisation Mass held by Pope Francis.
Last December, Pope Francis had paved the way towards making her a saint. This comes as no surprise as the Pope, who prioritises the poor, was eager to make her a saint during the church’s present Holy Year.
The Nobel Peace Laureate died in 1997 at the age of 87.
Mother Theresa, who was originally named Agnese Gonxha Bojaxhiu, was born to Albanian parents in 1910, in the former Ottoman Empire (now Macedonia).
She has been acknowledged in the church for two miracles involving healing the sick. Equally, a portrait of Mother Teresa, whom the church credits with having performed those two miracles, hung from St. Peter’s Basilica during the ceremony.
According to a media report, the late Pope John Paul II had adjusted Vatican rules to allow the procedure to establish her case for sainthood to be carried out two years after her death.
The Catholic Church describes saints as those believed to have been holy enough during their lives to now be in heaven and can intercede with God to perform miracles.
The crowd applauded with cheer before and as the Pope completed the formula of canonisation, in which he declared that the Blessed Theresa of Calcutta was now a saint.
Pope Francis had remarked in Latin that after due deliberations and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and also having sought the counsel of several of the brother bishops, Blessed Theresa of Calcutta was now enrolled among the saints and was to be venerated as such by the whole church.
Prayers were offered in a number of languages, namely in Albanian and Bengali. A special Mass was also held at Calcutta at the Missionaries of Charity.
Nearly 1,500 homeless people from around Italy were taken to the Vatican to be given seats of honour at the mass, and fed by nuns afterwards.