Pope Fran­cis de­clares Mother Teresa a saint

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

POPE Fran­cis has de­clared Mother Teresa of Cal­cutta, known as the “saint of the gut­ters” dur­ing her life, a saint, just 19 years af­ter her death.

Ap­plause erupted in St Peter’s Square at the Vat­i­can even be­fore Fran­cis fin­ished pro­nounc­ing the rite of canon­i­sa­tion at the start of the Mass for the nun yes­ter­day, with the at­ten­dance of tens of thou­sands of pil­grims.

Pil­grims streamed into the square from early morn­ing ahead of a ser­vice to hon­our the nun and No­bel peace lau­re­ate, who worked among the world’s poor­est in the slums of the In­dian city now known as Kolkata.

“For the hon­our of the Blessed Trin­ity . . . we de­clare and de­fine Blessed Teresa of Cal­cutta (Kolkata) to be a Saint and we en­rol her among the Saints, de­cree­ing that she is to be ven­er­ated as such by the whole Church,” the pon­tiff said in Latin.

Fran­cis said that even though the nun had been de­clared a saint, she would al­ways be Mother Teresa to the Catholic fam­ily.

Echo­ing his own vi­sion of a “poor church for the poor”, the pope de­scribed Teresa’s work as “elo­quent wit­ness to God’s close­ness to the poor­est of the poor.”

To ap­plause, he added: “Mother Teresa loved to say, ‘per­haps I don’t speak their lan­guage but I can smile’.

“Let us carry her smile in our hearts and give it to those whom we meet along our jour­ney, es­pe­cially those who suf­fer.”

Mil­lions of Catholics re­vere the nun as a model of com­pas­sion, and more than 100 000 peo­ple were ex­pected at the mid-morn­ing cer­e­mony in front of St Peter’s Basil­ica, decked out with a can­vas of the late nun in her trade­mark blue-hemmed white robes.

Mother Teresa’s legacy com­ple­ments Pope Fran­cis’s vi­sion of a hum­ble church that strives to serve the poor, and the fes­tiv­i­ties are a high­light of his Holy Year of Mercy, which runs un­til No­vem­ber 8.

Lau­rence Lee, re­port­ing from the Vat­i­can, said that speed­ing up the canon­i­sa­tion of Teresa helped the Pope Fran­cis’ cam­paign for so­cial jus­tice.

“Be­fore Pope Fran­cis took over the job, the Catholic Church was in a real mess. There were scan­dals af­fil­i­ated with the church and cor­rup­tion, res­ig­na­tion of Pope Bene­dict and the loss of di­rec­tion of the church,” he said.

“Pope Fran­cis is try­ing to see a re­set­ting and a new sense of di­rec­tion re­volved around so­cial change and help­ing the poor. And speed­ing up the canon­i­sa­tion of Teresa helps this goal.” — Al Jazeera.

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