Pope Francis announces Mother Teresa sainthood status
Date published: Tuesday, 15th March 2016
Pope Francis has approved Mother Teresa’s elevation to sainthood status.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the nun who dedicated her life to helping the poor, will be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church at a ceremony on Sept. 4.
Pope Francis made the announcement at a meeting of cardinals to give the final approval to several sainthood causes.
Last December, he cleared the way for sainthood for the Nobel peace laureate, who died in 1997 at the age of 87.
Francis met Teresa before he became pope, in 1994, and later joked that she had seemed so formidable he ‘would have been scared if she had been my mother superior’.
Others were much harsher in their judgement with the likes of Germaine Greer and polemicist Christopher Hitchens accusing her of contributing to the misery of the poor with her strident opposition to contraception and abortion.
In her Nobel acceptance speech she described terminations of pregnancies as ‘direct murder by the mother herself.’
Questions have also been raised over the Missionaries of Charity’s finances, as well as conditions in the order’s hospices.
A series of her letters published in 2007 also caused some consternation among admirers, as it became clear that she had suffered crises of faith for most of her life.
India granted her a state funeral after her death and her grave in the order’s headquarters has since become a pilgrimage site.
The announcement comes after a Vatican panel recognises a second miracle attributed to the late nun famed for her work with the poor of Kolkata.
The committee of senior clerics that approves elevations to sainthood is due to meet from around 0900 GMT with the long-awaited green light seen as a formality, less than two decades after her death.
Pope Francis will then sign a decree approving the canonisation of the 1979 Nobel peace prize winner and announce a date and venue for it to happen.
The Albanian nun and missionary will be one of five candidates for sainthood considered at Tuesday’s session, but by far the most high-profile.
The canonisation is widely expected to take place on September 4, the eve of the anniversary of her 1997 death, for which a celebration of her memory had already been scheduled as part of the Church’s Jubilee Year of Mercy.