Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a Catholic nun who devoted her life to helping India’s poor, has been declared a saint of the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Francis. According to CNN, Pope Francis delivered the formula for the canonization of the nun before a crowd of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City on Sunday, September 4, 19 years after her death.
Speaking in Latin, Francis said: “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 Calcutta to be a saint, and we enroll her among the saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole church.” Catholics including hundreds of blue and white-robed nuns from the Missionaries of Charity sisterhood founded by Mother Teresa had gathered from around the world to attend the canonization of the church’s newest saint.
A huge portrait of Mother Teresa, whom the church credits with having performed two miraculous cures of the sick, hung from St. Peter’s Basilica during the colorful ceremony. Mother Teresa was born in 1910 to ethnic Albanian parents. Agnese Gonxha Bojaxhiu grew up in what is now the Macedonian capital, Skopje, but was then part of the Ottoman Empire.
At the age of 19, she joined the Irish order of Loreto and was sent to India, where she taught at a school in Darjeeling under the name of Therese in 1929. In 1946, she moved to Kolkata to help the destitute and, after a decade, set up a hospice and a home for abandoned children. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. The sisterhood now has 4,500 nuns worldwide. She died in 1997 at the age of 87 and was beatified in 2003, the first step to sainthood.