Pope Francis has recognized a second miracle by Mother Teresa, clearing the path for her sainthood. The Vatican is expected to canonize the popular nun by September next year.
Celebrated for her charity work with the poor people of Kolkata, India, Mother Teresa is expected to be canonized on September 4, 2016, Catholic newspaper "Avvenire" reported. The beloved nun's sainthood was imminent after the Vatican recognized that she had cured a Brazilian man suffering from multiple brain tumors in 2008.
"I was informed by Rome that Pope Francis has recognized a second miracle to Mother Teresa," Archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D'Souza told journalists.
The Catholic Church needs to recognize at least two miracles before it can grant sainthood. In 2002, the Vatican officially approved the first miracle Mother Teresa carried out in 1998, one year after her death. The miracle involved the healing of a Bengali woman, Monika Besra, who was suffering from an abdominal tumor.
In 2003, Pope John Paul II beatified the nun in a ceremony attended by 300,000 followers.
Saint of the gutters
Members of the Missionaries of Charity who worked closely with Mother Teresa expressed their joy at the announcement, saying the nun was an extraordinary woman who believed hard work was the best way to serve God.
"She, of course, read the Bible, but her main understanding was to serve the poor," Sunita Kumar, a spokeswoman for the Missionaries of Charity, told Indian channel NDTV. "Look at the work she did, not a day's holiday, not a day's rest.
"I am absolutely delighted that it happens in my lifetime," she added.
Mother Teresa was born August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, and was known as Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu before she joined the church. She became an Indian citizen in 1951 and founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata to care for the sick and poor. She won the Nobel Prize in 1979 and died at the age of 87 in 1997.
Despite her work towards uplifting the downtrodden, Mother Teresa, also known as the "Saint of the Gutters" has been a controversial figure. In 1994, British authors Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ali accused her of contributing to the misery of the poor with her strong opposition to contraception and abortion. Their work was based on investigation by Aroup Chatterjee, a Kolkata-born physician who had briefly worked in one of Teresa's homes.
In 2007, a series of her published letters revealed that she had been facing a crisis of faith for most of her life. Funding for her Missionaries of Charity has also been questioned and its members have been accused of resisting modern methods of hygiene.
mg/sms (AFP, Reuters)