Catholic nun, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, known as the “saint of the gutters,” has been declared a saint in a canonization Mass held by Pope Francis in the Vatican on Sunday morning.
During the canonization of the Albanian-born nun – who devoted her life to helping India’s poor – the Pope said St Teresa had defended the unborn, sick and abandoned, and had shamed world leaders for the “crimes of poverty they themselves created”, before huge crowds of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
Speaking in Latin, Francis said that “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.”The Pope said Mother Teresa had spent her life “bowing down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity”.
He added: “She made her voice heard before the powers of the world, so that they might recognise their guilt for the crimes of poverty they themselves created.” He then repeated: “The crimes of poverty they themselves created.”For the newly-sainted Teresa, he said, “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.”She was an example to volunteers around the world, he said. “May she be your model of holiness.”In a departure from his scripted remarks, he noted that people “may struggle” to refer to her as “Saint Teresa.” “With great spontaneity, I think we will continue to call her Mother Teresa,” he said.
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.
The canonization came 19 years after her death.