By MICHELLE MARCHANTE
During a mass in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Sept. 4 Pope Francis canonized Mother Teresa of Kolkata-formerly known as Calcutta- into sainthood.
“Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defense of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded,” Francis said in Latin during his homily.
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in 1910 in Skopje-which is now part of Macedonia- to an ethnic Albanian family. According to catholic.org, Bojaxhiu left her home in 1928 for Ireland’s Loreto Convent in Rathfarnham and upon being admitted as a postulant on Oct. 12, received the name “Teresa” after her patroness, St. Therese of Lisieux.
During her time as a Sister of Loreto, Mother Teresa- the “Saint of the Gutters”- traveled to India in 1929 and devoted the rest of her life to helping India’s poor. During her lifetime, she also founded the Missionaries of Charity sisterhood, which adheres to the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience and to serve the “poorest of the poor,” before passing away in 1997 at the age of 87 in Kolkata.
“For the honor of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother Bishops, we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a Saint,” Francis said.
“We enroll her among the Saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole Church. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
About 120,000 people attended Mother Teresa’s canonization, according to The Catholic News Service, even with the sweltering heat that graced the square.
“Mother Teresa is a sign of the times. In her smallness, she revealed the calling we all have. She said we were all saints by our baptism and we must recover our original holiness,” Maria Demuru said to CNS. “She lived in humility and simplicity like the poor of the earth and was never ashamed of that.”
Pope Francis said that Mother Teresa made her voice be heard before the “powers of this world” and is an example for all Christians and volunteers engaged in works of mercy.
“For Mother Teresa, mercy was the ‘salt’ which gave flavor to her work, it was the ‘light’ which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering,” he said.
“May this tireless worker of mercy help us to increasingly understand that our only criterion for action is gratuitious love, free from every ideology and all obligations, offered freely to everyone without distinction of language, culture, race or religion.”
Michelle Marchante is a guest contributor for The Buzz Insider and the Assistant Opinion Director at FIUSM. She is a writer, reader and filmmaking enthusiast. Currently, she is studying to get her degree in Broadcast Journalism and is also working on her second novel. Connect with her on Twitter @TweetMichelleM
Image retrieved from Flickr.
Translations of Mother Teresa’s Canonization Mass were found at catholicnews.com and catholicnewsagency.com