Mother Teresa is now St. Teresa.
In a canonization Mass held by Pope Francis in the Vatican, the Catholic nun, known as the “Saint of the Gutters” and revered for her work with India’s poor, was declared a saint and an “emblematic figure of womanhood and of consecrated life.”
According to the Associated Press, an estimated 120,000 gathered in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City to hear Pope Francis deliver the formula in Latin proclaiming the Albanian-born nun’s sainthood.
“After due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother bishops, we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Kolkata to be a saint, and we enroll her among the saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole church.”
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) September 3, 2016
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910, Mother Teresa became known throughout the world for her work with her Missionaries of Charity in the slums of Kolkata (Calcutta), which she started in 1950. She remained in the poverty-stricken Indian city for nearly half a century.
In 1979, the nun was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her tireless work and compassion for the poor.
Upon her death in 1998 at the age of 87, Pope John Paul II began feeling pressure from devotees around the world to fast track the nun’s sainthood.
Despite the fact that it generally takes decades or even centuries after death before a person is declared a saint, the pope allowed the accelerated beautification after two miraculous cures were attributed to Mother Teresa following her death.
In 2002, Pope John Paul II approved the first miracle, after no “scientific explanation” could be found for the cure of Monica Besra, a 30-year-old Kolkata woman who claimed she prayed to Mother Teresa to cure her stomach tumor.
— CatholicLink English (@catholiclink_en) August 25, 2016
In March, Pope Francis announced that Mother Teresa would be declared a saint after a second miracle was attributed to her — a Brazilian man who was healed of his multiple brain tumors after loved ones prayed to Mother Teresa to heal him, according to Avvenire.
In his homily Sunday, Pope Francis praised the new saint for her charitable work.
“Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defense of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded.”
“She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity. She made her voice heard before the powers of this world so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime of poverty they created.”
The nuns and priests from the Missionaries of Charity continue her work around the world, with offices in Europe, Africa, the Americas and Australia as well as Hong Kong and Russia.
— Voice of the Vatican (@VoiceOfVatican) August 25, 2016
There has been some controversy surrounding Mother Teresa’s sainthood. The charity she founded is accused of not being financially accountable and others say volunteers are not properly trained.
As to the miracles, some doctors claim Besra was healed by modern medicine and not by prayer and intercession.
Despite the criticism, the tiny woman in the blue and white sari known as Mother Teresa is now St. Teresa, as declared by Pope Francis.
“Mercy was the salt which gave flavor to her work, it was the light which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering.”
[Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images]