Mother Teresa to be made Roman Catholic saint, Vatican says

Nicknamed the 'Saint of the Gutters,' the late Macedonia-born nun dedicated her life to helping the world's poorest people.

AP/File
Mother Teresa, head of Missionaries of Charity, is photographed, in New Delhi, India in Aug. 25, 1993. Pope Francis has signed off on the miracle needed to make Mother Teresa a saint, giving the nun who cared for the poorest of the poor one of the Catholic Church's highest honors just two decades after her death.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta, one of the best-known nuns of all time, will be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican confirmed on Friday.

The Vatican said that Pope Francis recognized a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the path for the nun to be elevated to sainthood.

According to a report in Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian Catholic bishops’ conference, Pope Francis approved Thursday the findings of the Vatican’s panel of experts convened earlier this week by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which found the 2008 healing of a Brazilian man with serious health issues had been due to the intercession of Mother Teresa.

Known as "Saint of the Gutters" for her dedication to serve the destitute, the sick and the dying, Mother Teresa died in 1997 at the age of 87.

The process leading up to the sainthood has been the shortest in modern history.

Mother Teresa’s path to sainthood began in early 1999, less than two years after her death, when Pope John Paul II waived the normal five-year waiting period to open a formal sainthood and allowed the immediate opening of her canonization cause.

The traditional Roman Catholic canonization procedure requires at least two so-called medical miracles. One before a deceased Catholic can be declared “blessed,” and another such miracle, occurring after that declaration, before he or she can be canonized as a saint.

She was beatified in 2003 after Pope John Paul II recognized her first miracle. He believed the healing of a seriously ill Indian woman was the result of Mother Teresa's supernatural intervention. About 300,000 pilgrims attended the event in St. Peter’s Square.

Archbishop Thomas D'Souza of Calcutta told Reuters the news from Rome was "the best Christmas gift."

"Her entire life and work was for the poor. Now it is in a way officially recognized. We are grateful to God," he said.

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu to an ethnic Albanian family in Skopje, in what is today the Republic of Macedonia. She set up her Missionaries of Charity, an order of nuns dedicated to care of the “poorest of the poor,” in Kolkata (Calcutta), in 1950 and made her headquarters in the Indian city for nearly half a century.

She described herself, "By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus."

Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work.

Her canonization would probably occur on September 4, 2016, the anniversary of her death, Avvenire reports. This will likely be one of the highlights of the special Roman Catholic Church's Holy Year of mercy.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.