Mother Teresa to be declared a Saint

Mother Teresa, a woman who impacted countless lives, is to be recognised as a Saint by the Catholic Church tomorrow. The canonisation process completed just 19 years after her death, but not without some controversy.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Mother Teresa still manages to produce hope and awe for millions.

Updated Sep 12, 2016

Hundreds of thousands are expected to gather in front of St Peters Bastillica in Rome, Italy tomorrow for the canonisation service of Mother Teresa of Calcutta,19 years after her death.

The ceremony will be the culmination of a process - sometimes called "the saint-making machine" - that is long, complex, expensive, opaque and often contentious.

The Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa, gained her the Nobel Peace Prize.

It was here she selflessly cared for the dying, homeless and orphans gathered from the teeming streets of eastern India.

A nun belonging to the global Missionaries of Charity tends to a patient at Nirmal Hriday, a home for the destitute and old, founded by Mother Teresa ahead of Mother Teresa's canonisation ceremony, in Kolkata, India

The Catholic Church posthumously confers sainthood on people considered so holy during their lives that they are now believed to be with God and can intercede with him to perform miracles.

Such is the status of the nun acclaimed for her work in the slums of the Indian city now known as Kolkata.

Mother Teresa and the late Pope John Paul would meet often. The former pope bent Vatican rules to grant a dispensation allowing the procedure to establish her case for sainthood to be launched two years after her death instead of the usual five.

The Church spent many years investigating reported miracles attributed to the late Mother Teresa.

The first concerned an Indian woman, Monica Bersa, whose stomach tumor is said to have disappeared after she and others prayed to the nun in 1998, a year after Mother Teresa died.

The second miracle involved Brazilian Marcilio Andrino, who the Church says unexpectedly recovered from a severe brain infection in 2008 after his family prayed to Mother Teresa.

Marcilio Andrino, and his wife smiling at the end of a press conference at the Vatican. Andrino's cure of a viral brain infection, declared a miracle by Pope Francis earlier this year, was the final step needed to declare Mother Teresa a saint.

With two Church confirmed miracles in tow, the requirements for sainthood were met, but not everyone is convinced.

Critics, such as the late atheist writer Christopher Hitchens, who made a documentary called Hell's Angel on Mother Teresa, says the system is flawed.

One of the doctors who treated Bersa at the time, Ranjan Mustafi, told Indian media her healing was as a result of treatment.

Notwithstanding, the everyday work of the Missionaries of Charity goes on, and Mother Teresa's devotion to servicing the needs of the poor has without a doubt, impacted countless lives.

The destitute and the diseased still gather outside Mother Teresa's clinics in this sprawling city, where she dedicated her life to helping the poorest of the poor.

TRTWorld and agencies