Mother Teresa, renowned and celebrated nun, who served thousands of diseased and destitute people in Kolkata was on Sunday canonised by Pope Francis at a grand ceremony in Vatican. The event saw lakhs for pilgrims, including those from India, reaching the venue to witness the ceremony. A 12-member delegation led by Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and delegation from West Bengal and New Delhi including Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal also became a part of the event.
Back here in India, preparations were made at various places including the mothers’ house in Kolkata for people to watch the canonisation ceremony on Television sets and screens.
The decision to announce Mother Teresa a saint was taken after two miracles were attributed to her name.
According to Canadian priest Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, a tribal woman from West Bengal, Monica Besra was cured of a tumor after she prayed to Mother Teresa in 1998. In December 2008, a Brazilian man, Marcilio Haddad Andrino also recovered from a brain disease after a relic of Mother Teresa was placed near his headh. Pope Francis recognized both these incidents as miracles performed by Mother Teresa after her death.
Mother had breathed her last on September 5, 1997 and she was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003.
As the canonisation ceremony commenced at St Peter’s Square in Vatican city, Cardinal Angelo Amato addressed Pope Francis and read out a short bio of Mother. Following that, Pope Francis Pope read the Formula of Canonization in Latin and performed other rites after which Mother Teresa was announced Saint Teresa of Calcutta, the place where she lived for more than 40 years of her life.
“We may have some difficulty in calling her ‘Saint’ Teresa,” the pontiff said. “Her holiness is so near to us, so tender and so fruitful that we continue to spontaneously call her Mother.” He added: “She made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime – the crimes! – of poverty they created.”
Francis also used his sermon to recall Teresa’s fervent opposition to abortion, which she termed “murder by the mother” in a controversial Nobel Peace prize speech in 1979. “She ceaselessly proclaimed that the unborn are the weakest”, he said.
The unscripted comments came at a canonisation mass attended by 100,000 pilgrims, including 13 heads of state or government and hundreds of sari-clad nuns from Teresa’s order, the Missionaries of Charity.
Queen Sofia of Spain and some 1,500 homeless people also looked on as Francis described Teresa’s work in the slums of the Indian metropolis as “eloquent witness to God’s closeness to the poorest of the poor.” A number of homeless people also attended Mother’s canonisation ceremony and Pope Francis too offered Pizza lunch for 1,500 such people after the Canonisation mass.
CELEBRATIONS IN INDIA
“Sainthood of Mother Teresa is a memorable & proud moment,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Sunday. While Mother Teresa was being made a saint at Vatican, there were various things happening in India to mark the event.
India Post released a commemorative postage stamp on her as part of the celebrations which was unveiled by Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha. In Odisha’a Bhubaneswar, Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik renamed an important road after Saint Teresa.
Churches across the country were decorated and celebratory mass was performed in her name. At many such places, free food was distributed among the poor. It was also a rare occasion for nuns at Mothers’ House in Kolkata as they watched television to see the canonisation ceremony.
In Kolkata, nuns of the Missionaries of Charity today cheered loudly, clapped freely and rang bells the moment Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa a saint. Decked up with larger-than-life posters of the late Roman Catholic nun, the Mother House, headquarters of the congregation and house of the saint, was kept open throughout the day as visitors poured in to watch the ceremony live on big TV screens and offer flowers at her tomb.
A catholic church near Mumbai, dedicated to Mother Teresa, was today rechristened as ‘Saint Mother Teresa Church’ even as prayers were held all over Maharashtra to rejoice the canonisation of the Nobel laureate. A series of celebrations were held at churches in Mumbai, and neighbouring Thane and Palghar districts, as Mother Teresa was declared a saint. The Blessed Mother Teresa Church in Virar, around 60 km north of Mumbai, was re-christened as ‘St Mother Teresa Church’.
Special prayers and mass processions were organised by churches in Kerala. Hundreds of devotees took part in a procession organised at St Joseph Church, while a special Holy Mass held at St Antony’s Church at nearby Kochuthura, was also attended by a large number of parishioners. Archbishop of Latin Archdiocese Soosai Pakiam led the prayers and gave a special message to the devotees at St Antony’s Church.
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