BEVERLY HILLS, September 01, (THEWILL) – Mother Teresa of Calcutta, one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century, will be made a Catholic saint on Sunday by Pope Francis.
According to Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the Canadian priest who promoted the cause, hundreds of thousands of faithful are expected to attend the canonisation service to held in front of St. Peter’s basilica.
“Affectionately called the ‘saint of the gutters’ during her lifetime, Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be made an official saint of the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday, just 19 years after her death,” he declared.
“The Church defines saints as those believed to have been holy enough during their lives to now be in Heaven and able to intercede with God to perform miracles.
“She has been credited with two miracles, both involving the healing of sick people.
“We don’t have to prove that saints were perfect, because no one is perfect.
“Several events are planned in the run up to the ceremony, including a prayer vigil on Friday, an audience in St Peter’s Square with Francis on Saturday morning.
“It would be followed in the evening by a veneration of Teresa’s relics in a Roman basilica outside of the Vatican.
“As the canonisation falls on the eve of Teresa’s feast day, which marks the anniversary of her death on September 5, 1997, there are expected to be more celebrations and religious services on Monday and later on in the week.
“Pilgrims would be allowed between September 7-8, to visit the room Teresa used on visits to Rome, in the convent of the Church of San Gregorio Magno near the Colosseum, where her Missionaries of Charity have a local branch.
“The Indian Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj and other dignitaries from Teresa’s adopted nation are scheduled to attend the Mass.
Kolodiejchuk declared that her detractors missed the point of her mission, arguing that she had created a place to comfort people in their final days rather than establish hospitals.
Mother Teresa was one of the most influential women in the Church’s 2,000-year history, acclaimed for her work amongst the world’s poorest of the poor in the slums of the Indian city now called Kolkata.
She was born Agnese Gonxha Bojaxhiu of Albanian parents in 1910 in what was then part of the Ottoman Empire and is now Macedonia. She became a nun at 16 and moved to India in 1929, creating her mission in 1950 and gained worldwide recognition for her work, including a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
Mother Teresa, one of the most recognisable faces of the 20th century, was put on the fast track to sainthood after dying of a heart attack on Sept. 5, 1997.
The late Pope John Paul II bent Vatican rules to allow the procedure to establish her case for sainthood to be launched two years after her death instead of the usual five, and she was beatified in 2003.
Story by David Oputah