Hundreds of Missionaries of Charity sisters in their trademark blue-trimmed saris had front-row seats at the Mass, alongside 1,500 homeless people and 13 heads of state or government, including Queen Sofia of Spain.
Pope Francis, bestowing sainthood said, “For the honour of the Blessed Trinity… 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 pontiff praised her as the merciful saint who defended the lives of the unborn, sick and abandoned — and who shamed world leaders for the “crimes of poverty they themselves created.”
Francis held Saint Teresa up as a model for today’s Christians during his homily for the nun who cared for the “poorest of the poor.”
Speaking from the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis said Saint Teresa 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.”
Born to Kosovar Albanian parents in Skopje — she won the 1979 Nobel peace prize and was revered around the world as a beacon for the Christian values of self-sacrifice and charity.
In Kolkata, hundreds of people inside the headquarters of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity clapped with joy as she was proclaimed a saint.
They congregated around Mother’s tomb, which was decorated with a single lighted candle, flowers and a photo of the tiny saint. A caption on the tomb read ‘Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Pray for Us.’
THE PROCESS TO BE MADE A SAINT
Achieving sainthood requires the Vatican to approve accounts of two miracles occurring as a result of prayers for Teresa’s intercession.
The first one, ratified in 2002, was of an Indian woman, Monica Besra, who says she recovered from ovarian cancer a year after Teresa’s death — something local health officials have put down to medical advances rather than the power of prayer.
In the second, approved last year, Brazilian Marcilio Haddad Andrino says his wife’s prayers to Teresa led to brain tumours disappearing.
Even as the solemn canonisation ceremony was underway in faraway Rome, members of the Darjeeling branch of the Lay Missionaries of Charity took an 8-kilometre ride on the iconic Darjeeling toy train to retrace the trip Mother Teresa took on September 10, 1946.
“We wished to experience what Mother Teresa must have felt during that time of September 10, 1946 when she got the ‘call within the call’ during her trip from the plains (NJP-Siliguri) to Darjeeling and her life’s course changed forever,” Father Peter Lingdam, LMC’s Darjeeling Branch Director said.
“Today’s ride in the toy train is symbolic. Maybe some of us will also be enlightened like her,” Father Lingdam said.
On September 10, 1946, during her journey to Darjeeling in the toy train the Mother received the ‘call within the call’ within her soul and the course of her life was decided, the Father said.
Mother Teresa’s legacy remains strong in the hills as apart from LMC chapters, branches of the MC (Missionaries of Charity) continue to work for the welfare of the poor, needy and homeless in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong sub-divisions.
Road named after Mother Teresa in Bhubaneswar
An important road in Bhubaneswar was named after Mother Teresa coinciding with her canonisation ceremony at the Vatican.
Dedicating the road linking Satya Nagar and Cuttack-Puri highway in her memory, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said henceforth the pathway would be known as ‘Saint Mother Teresa Road’.
“I pay my heartfelt tributes to Mother Teresa on her cannonisation as Saint Mother Teresa. She arrived in India in 1929 and made this country her home to serve the poor, the deceased and the destitute,” Patnaik said.
“It is time for all of us to take a leaf from her book of compassion and service and work for the poor and distressed. Let’s work for the dignity of every human being and the people around us,” he said.