Mother Teresa, the nun who devoted her life to working with sick and poor communities in India and elsewhere, was canonized as a saint on Today.

Pope Francis declared sainthood for Teresa during a ceremony at the Vatican in front of tens of thousands of people. Her canonization comes a day before the anniversary of her death in 1997 according to reports from the Atlantic.

“Her mission to the urban and existential peripheries remains for us today an eloquent witness to God’s closeness to the poorest of the poor,” the pope said. “Today, I pass on this emblematic figure of womanhood and of consecrated life to the whole world of volunteers: may she be your model of holiness.”

Teresa will now be known as Saint Teresa of Kolkata. She was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje in modern-day Macedonia in 1910 to Albanian parents. She is known for founding the religious order Missionaries of Charity in 1950, an organization of nuns that is now active in more than 100 countries and cares for the impoverished and the sick, particularly people with AIDS, and orphans and the elderly. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work. She died in 1997 at the age of 87.

Saint Teresa joins about 10,000 other official saints in the Catholic Church. Becoming a saint is not easy and can take decades, and the process for canonization usually begins five years after a candidate’s death. “Because she was so widely admired among the faithful, however, Pope John Paul II waived that traditional waiting period, allowing the process to begin only 18 months after her death in 1997.” 

Image credit: Retuers

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