Led by Pope Francis in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, hundreds of thousands of faithful from all over the world witnessed the solemn canonization service of Catholic missionary and Nobel Prize winner Mother Teresa.
The divine personality of Mother was canonised by Pope Francis, on Sunday at the Vatican, 19 years after her death.
Ahead of the ceremony, Pope Francis told the sea of cheering supporters gathered beneath a portrait of Mother Teresa: “She deserves it! We’ll have the joy of seeing Mother Teresa proclaimed a saint”.
Cardinal Angelo Amato read a brief biography of Mother Teresa’s work, and then asked the Pope to canonise her in the Church’s name.
Two apparent cures of sick people after Mother Teresa’s death in 1997 have been attributed to her intercession.
Pope Francis told the sea of worshippers: “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 Calcutta to be a saint and we enrol her among the saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole Church.”
To mark the occasion, India’s Modi’s government sent an 11-strong delegation, led by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also paid tribute to her in his regular radio address this week, saying Mother Teresa had “spent her entire life in the service of people belonging to economically weaker and underprivileged sections.” “She moulded herself (to Indian conditions) and served the people of India. It is natural for every Indian to take pride in the moment when such a mother is declared a saint,” he said.
At the Kolkata centre of the Missionaries of Charity, the organisation she led, three giant screens were put up to watch the beatification, and special prayers and thanksgiving sessions were also held on the occasion, ‘Indian Express’ reported.
She passed away in 1997 at Calcutta and was subsequently beatified in 2003, which marks the initial step towards sainthood.