Pope Francis approves Mother Teresa elevation to sainthood

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a nun who dedicated her life to helping the poor, will be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church at a ceremony on Sept. 4, Pope Francis announced on Tuesday.

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Last December, he cleared the way for sainthood for the Nobel peace laureate, who died in 1997 at the age of 87 and was known as “saint of the gutters”.

Teresa, who was born Agnese Gonxha Bojaxhiu of Albanian parents in 1910 in what was then part of the Ottoman Empire and is now Macedonia, became an international figure but was also accused of trying to convert people to Christianity.

Francis, who has made concern for the poor a major plank of his papacy, was keen to make Mother Teresa a saint during the Church’s current Holy Year.

She founded the Missionaries of Charity with about a dozen nuns in the 1950s to help the poor on the streets of Calcutta, now known as Kolkata. The religious order spread throughout the world. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

The Church defines saints as those believed to have been holy enough during their lives to now be in Heaven and can intercede with God to perform miracles. She has been credited in the church with two miracles, both involving the healing of sick people.

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