Pope Francis canonized Mother Teresa in a ceremony today at the Vatican. Thousands of Christians flocked to St Peter’s Square for the Mass and canonization. Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in Koldata, a sisterhood that runs 19 homes. She also won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the poor in India.
In order to be canonized a saint in the Catholic Church by the Pope a person must go through a five step process. A person first cannot be recognized as a saint until five years after their death. Second, the individual must have lived a life of virtue to the point that they are formally recognized as a ‘Servant of God’. Third, there must be proof that the individual showed a life a heroic virtue. The fourth condition of sainthood is that a miracle needs to be attributed to prayers made to the individual after their death. When the prayers are granted it is assumed proof that the individual is already in heaven, and hence able to intercede with God on others’ behalf. The fifth and final step is canonization which is the declaration that a deceased person is a saint. For this stage to occur, a second miracle normally needs to be attributed to prayers made to the candidate after they have been beatified. Two miraculous cures of the sick after Mother Teresa’s death in 1997 have been attributed to her intercession.
Mother Teresa was born in 1910 to parents that were somewhat well to do in the city of Skopje which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. She and her parents lived in one of the homes their family owned. Her father died when she was only seven and her mother took responsibility for the family. By age 19, Mother Teresa had become a nun and by 1948 had moved to Calcutta to start her work there helping the poor. She founded the Missionaries of Charity and passed away in 1997.
President Reagan presented Mother Teresa the Medal of Freedom in 1985 for her work with the poor.