Vatican signals Mother Teresa of Calcutta to be canonised

Pope Francis clears way for sainthood by approving decree recognising a miracle

Mother Teresa, head of Missionaries of Charity, in New Delhi in 1993. She established the congregation in 1950 with 13 members in Calcutta. Photograph: AP Photo

Mother Teresa, head of Missionaries of Charity, in New Delhi in 1993. She established the congregation in 1950 with 13 members in Calcutta. Photograph: AP Photo

 

Mother Teresa of Calcutta is expected to be canonised in September of next year following the Vatican announcement on Friday that a second miracle attributed to her had been approved.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints said Pope Francis had approved the miracle, clearing the way for her canonisation. It is said to have occurred in 2008 when a Brazilian man with several brain tumours was believed cured through her intercession.

Mother Teresa, who died in 1997, was beatified (declared Blessed) in 2003 by Pope St John Paul. He waived the normal five-year waiting period after a person’s death before the canonisation process could begin in her case and in 2002 judged that the curing of an Indian woman suffering from an abdominal tumour was the result of intervention by Mother Teresa.

Of Albanian background, she was born Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu at Skopje, Macedonia, in 1910. She came to Dublin in 1928 where she joined the Loreto Sisters at Rathfarnham and learned English.

She arrived in India in 1929, taking her first vows in 1931 and the name Therése, after St Therese of Lisieux patron saint of missionaries. However she chose the Spanish spelling of the name as another sister in the congregation had taken the name Therése. She took her final vows in 1937 and established her Missionaries of Charity congregation in 1950 with 13 members in Calcutta.

Dedicated to helping the “poorest among the poor”, it focused on caring for the homeless, the sick and the dying in the slums of the city now known as Kolkata. Today the congregation’s sisters can be found in more than 100 countries.

Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985 and, in 1993, she was awarded the Freedom of Dublin.