(Finally) Saint Teresa of Calcutta
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(Finally) Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Pope Francis honors Mother Teresa in St. Peter's Square

(Finally) Saint Teresa of Calcutta

On Sunday, September 4, Pope Francis performed a ceremony officially declaring Mother Teresa a saint in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis held this special ceremony in her honor on the Vatican steps in Saint Peter's square in Rome.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta is most known for her work in Calcutta, India where she served the "poorest, of the poor." After leaving the Sisters of Loreto in Dublin, Ireland, she founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. The goal was to help the poor of India, opening a leper colony, clinics, nursing homes, and orphanages. She also has won many awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, for seeking justice through out the world.

The process of the investigation of her sainthood took years to complete. The canonization process can be long because the Catholic church spends a lot of time gathering evidence and documents to determine if the candidate is to be considered a saint. The process is extremely detailed and complex, with many people looking a witness accounts, documents, and testamonies. Here is a simple break down of the process of the canonization of a saint.

    - After 5 years a formal request can be issued to consider a person a saint. Although, the Pope has the right to wave this law in certain circumstances; Pope John Paul II waived this law for Saint Teresa three years after her death. The request includes testimony of the person's exceptional character and dedication to God.
    -If the Pope decides to look in to the evidence gathered by the person's local bishop, the bishop opens a tribunal and calls witnesses to attest to the quality of the person's virtues and life. Evidence of miracles are also gathered.
    - Theologians then look at the evidence and documents gathered and if approved it is brought to the Pope. A person needs at least two proven miracles and authorization from the pope to be considered beatified or canonized.
    - The pope then declares beatification or canonization at a special Mass in the saint's honor.

The two miracles that she performed that were recognized were:

1. the curing of an Indian woman's stomach tumor after prayers to Saint Teresa

2. the healing of a Brazilian man with several brain tumors.

An advocate for the poor, the sick, and the unwanted, Saint Teresa spent years fighting injustice not only in India but around the world. She leaves behind a legacy of 4,500 Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity spread through out the world. It is only appropriate that Pope Francis honors her the day before the nineteenth year anniversary of her death.

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