Sunday 19 November 2017

Pope Francis to make Mother Teresa a saint in September

Mother Teresa was highly popular in Ireland. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
Mother Teresa was highly popular in Ireland. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
President Mary Robinson greeted Mother Teresa on her visit in 1993

Martin Grant

She was once an unkown nun working in Ireland - now Mother Teresa will be made a saint on September 4.

Pope Francis set the date and paved the way for the nun who cared for the poorest of the poor to become the centrepiece of his year-long focus on the Catholic Church's merciful side.

The Vatican ceremony will draw tens of thousands to honour the tiny, stooped nun who was fast-tracked for sainthood just a year after she died in 1997.

The canonisation announcement was expected, after Francis in December approved a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa's intercession - the final hurdle to make her a saint.

The actual date falls on the eve of the 19th anniversary of her death.

In Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), the eastern Indian city where Mother Teresa spent decades caring for the sick and homeless, there were joyous celebrations at a school and orphanage founded by her in 1949.

"The news of Mother's sainthood is a matter for joy. But Mother Teresa is already like God to us," said Jyotsna Patra, one of the early students of the school.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, welcomed the "wonderful news". "Blessed Mother Teresa is much loved in Ireland having been a frequent visitor to our country during her lifetime."

At the age of 18, she came to study English and begin her life as a nun with the Loreto Sisters of Dublin.

She also spent time in Belfast and Archbishop Martin thanked the Missionaries of Charity, the religious congregation founded by Mother Teresa, for their "selfless outreach" in the Archdiocese of Armagh.

St John Paul II, who was Mother Teresa's greatest champion, beatified her before a crowd of 300,000 in St Peter's Square in 2003.

Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work with Kolkata's destitute and ill - work which continued even after she herself became sick.

She died on September 5, 1997, aged 87.

Irish Independent

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