Pope Francis has announced that Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun would be declared a saint on 4 September. She was earlier beatified in October 2003 by now deceased Pope John Paul II, which is the first step to sainthood.
Pope Francis issued the decree setting the date of the late missionary’s canonization at a morning meeting with cardinals in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. The Vatican also confirmed that the ceremony will take place in Rome.
Her first posthumous miracle was the healing of a 30-year-old woman in Kolkata. According to the Bengali tribal woman Monica Besra, she was cured of a stomach tumor after praying to Mother Teresa.
Following this testimony, a Vatican committee declared it a miracle since it could not find any scientific explanation for her healing.
Last year, Mother Theresa’s second miracle, which was acknowledged by the Pope paved way for her sainthood.
CNN reports that the Italian Catholic bishops’ association’s official newspaper Avvenire revealed that her second miracle was the healing of a Brazilian man with multiple brain tumors, who was made whole after loved ones prayed to her [Mother Theresa] to heal him.
This miracle occurred after her death.
Notably, the date on which she will be proclaimed a saint falls on the eve of the anniversary of her death, which occurred on September 5, 1997.
Agnese Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in 1910 to Albanian parents, she grew up in what is now the Macedonian capital, Skopje, but was then part of the Ottoman Empire.
She joined the Irish order of Loreto at the age of 19 and in 1929, she was sent to India, where she tutored at a school in Darjeeling under the name of Therese.
She also founded the Missionaries of Charity with about a dozen nuns in the 1950s to help the poor on the streets of Calcutta, now known as Kolkata (Calcutta).
Mother Theresa was widely acknowledged for her work in Kolkata’s slums. Though, at that time, she was criticized by some people who accused her of collecting money for her charity, pushing a hardline Catholicism and mixing with dictators.
She was first seen dressed in her iconic white sari with blue trim for the first time in 1948. That same year, she started her mission of caring for the poor. Mother Theresa washed the wounded, cared for the sick and dying.
She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and died in 1997 at the age of 87.
In Catholic church, it often takes decades for catholic faithfuls to reach sainthood after their death, but beatification was rushed through by Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis was known to be keen to complete the process during the Church’s Holy Year of Mercy which runs to November 2016.
The Church defines saints as those believed to have been holy enough during their lives to now be in Heaven and can intercede with God to perform miracles.