The Vatican was home to a very special canonization ceremony this Sunday. A very prominent figure was canonized. A Nobel peace prize laureate and a name familiar to many. Mother Teresa, as she was known to all of us, was elevated to the status of saint within the Catholic Church.
According to estimates, 120,000 people were present in St. Peter’s Square to attend the canonization ceremony. Many more watched on the television, around the world.
Pope Francis praised Mother Teresa for the dedication with which she worked with society’s outcasts, her courage and her compassion.
Pope Francis Praises Mother Teresa
In his homily Pope Francis said: “Let us carry her smile in our hearts and give it to those whom we meet along our journey, especially those who suffer”. The words brought to mind the work that Mother Teresa did with those who were suffering. She helped the ones suffering from spiritual and material poverty, living on the periphery of society.
Pope Francis said that: “She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity”
“She made her voice heard before the powers of the world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crimes of poverty they themselves created,” he said. Then, the Pope repeated for emphasis “the crimes of poverty.”
Before becoming the pope, Francis had dedicated his ministry to working with society’s most marginal. He has been the priest of prisoners, refugees and the homeless. The event of the canonization of “St. Teresa of Kolkata” was an opportunity for Pope Francis to reiterate his priorities for his papacy.
The Work of Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa was born on Aug. 26, 1910. Her real name was Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhi. She came to India as a sister in the Loreto order in 1929. As she described it, in 1946, she received a “call within a call”. She felt the calling to found a new order. An order that would care for the unloved and unwanted, the “poorest of the poor”. The order was active in the slums of Kolkata, the city where she now lived.
“If I’m going to be a saint, I’m going to be a saint of darkness, and I’ll be asking from heaven to be the light of those who are in darkness on Earth,” she wrote. She extended her charity and her good grace to anyone in need of it and did not shy away from working in the most difficult of circumstances.
The order of the Missionaries of Charity became one of the most well-known orders in the world. It comprises more than 4,000 sisters. They wear the blue-trimmed white attire that is particular to them. And they try to follow in Mother Teresa’s footsteps. By doing as she instructed, doing “small things with great love.”
At the order’s House in Kolkata, many watched the ceremony on TV. There was much joy when Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa a saint.
Mother Teresa’s tomb in Kolkata was decorated simply for the day. With flowers, a single candle and a photo of the saint.
Image source: Wikipedia.