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Mother Teresa to be named a saint on Sept. 4

Nun will be centerpiece of Pope’s yearlong focus on Catholic Church’s merciful side


 
FILE - In this 1978, file photo, Mother Teresa, head of the Missionaries of Charity order, cradles an armless baby girl at her order's orphanage in what was then known as Calcutta, India, in 1978. Pope Francis has signed off on the miracle needed to make Mother Teresa a saint, giving the nun who cared for the poorest of the poor one of the Catholic Church's highest honors just two decades after her death. The Vatican said Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, that Francis approved a decree attributing a miracle to Mother Teresa's intercession during an audience with the head of the Vatican's saint-making office on Thursday, his 79th birthday. (AP Photo/Eddie Adams, File)

Mother Teresa, head of the Missionaries of Charity order, cradles an armless baby girl at her order’s orphanage in this photo from 1978.  (Eddie Adams, AP)

VATICAN CITY — Mother Teresa will be made a saint on Sept. 4.

Pope Francis set the canonization date Tuesday, paving the way for the nun who cared for the poorest of the poor to become the centerpiece of his yearlong focus on the Catholic Church’s merciful side.

The 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.

The 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. 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.

Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on Aug. 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, Mother Teresa joined the Loreto order of nuns in 1928. In 1946, while travelling by train from Calcutta to Darjeeling, she was inspired to found the Missionaries of Charity order.

The order was established four years later and has since opened more than 130 houses worldwide to provide comfort and care for the needy, dying, sick and “poorest of the poor.”

Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work with Calcutta’s destitute and ill — work which continued even after she herself became sick. She died on Sept. 5, 1997, at age 87. At the time, her Missionaries of Charity order had nearly 4,000 nuns and ran roughly 600 orphanages, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and clinics.

“She built an empire of charity,” said the Rev. Bernardo Cervellera, editor of the Vatican-affiliated missionary news agency AsiaNews. “She didn’t have a plan to conquer the world. Her idea was to be obedient to God.”

 


 

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