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World Europe 04 Sep 2016 St. Teresa shamed wo ...

St. Teresa shamed world leaders, says Pope Francis

Published Sep 4, 2016, 7:46 am IST
Updated Sep 4, 2016, 4:04 pm IST
The Pope Francis held St Teresa up as a model for Christians during his homily for the nun.
A portrait of Mother Teresa is carried in the crowd during a vigil of prayer in preparation for her canonisation in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican. (Photo: AP)
 A portrait of Mother Teresa is carried in the crowd during a vigil of prayer in preparation for her canonisation in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican. (Photo: AP)

Vatican City: Praising Saint Teresa as the merciful saint who defended the lives of the unborn, sick and abandoned, Pope Francis on Sunday said that St Teresa shamed world leaders for the ‘crimes of poverty they themselves created’.

Francis held St. Teresa up as a model for today's Christians during his homily for the nun who cared for the "poorest of the poor."


Speaking from the steps of St. Peter's Basilica, Francis said St. Teresa spent her life "bowing down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity."

Thousands of pilgrims thronged St Peter's Square for the canonisation of Mother Teresa, the tiny nun who cared for the world's most unwanted and became the icon of a Catholic Church that goes to the peripheries to find lost, wounded souls.

The ceremony began at at 2 pm IST. Throughout the night, pilgrims prayed at vigils in area churches and flocked before dawn to the Vatican under heavy security to try to get a good spot for the Mass that was expected to draw more than 100,000 people.

India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended the ceremony at the Vatican along with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.

Following is a timeline of Sunday's events:

2.30 pm: Addressing the gathering at St Peter's Square, Pope Francis said that St Teresa made her voice heard before the powers of the world, "so that they might recognize their guilt for the crimes of poverty they themselves created." As if to emphasize the point, Francis repeated the "the crimes of poverty they themselves created."

2.20 pm: Hundreds of people inside the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata clapped with joy as Mother Teresa was declared a saint by Pope Francis.

They congregated around Mother's tomb, which was decorated with a single lighted candle, flowers and a photo of the tiny saint. A caption on the tomb read "Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Pray for Us."

2:15 pm: Pope Francis has declared Mother Teresa a saint, honouring the tiny nun who cared for the world's most destitute as an icon for a Catholic Church that goes to the peripheries to find poor, wounded souls.

Applause erupted in St. Peter's Square even before Francis finished pronouncing the rite of canonization at the start of the Mass in St. Peter's Square.

For Francis, Mother Teresa put into action his ideal of the church as a merciful "field hospital" for the poorest of the poor, those suffering both material and spiritual poverty.

Hundreds of Missionaries of Charity sisters in their trademark blue-trimmed saris had front-row seats at the Mass alongside 1,500 homeless people and 13 heads of state or government, including Queen Sofia of Spain.

1:10 pm: Nuns, belonging to the global Missionaries of Charity, arrive to attend a mass celebrated by Pope Francis for the canonisation of Mother Teresa in Saint Peters Square.

12:25 pm:  Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday hailed the canonisation of Mother Teresa saying it was a recognition of her service to the poorest of poor, the dying and destitute.

Describing the life of Mother Teresa as "an epitome of grace, compassion and love", Gandhi said that "her saintly life will forever inspire humanity to commit to the cause of those who have no voice, no community, no home, no care and no love."

Wishing the Missionaries of Charity great success, she stressed that every Indian took great pride in the life, work and sainthood of Mother Teresa and shall be always grateful for her service.

12:05 pm: Pope Francis is following in the footsteps of Mother Teresa by offering some 1,500 homeless people a pizza lunch at the Vatican after her canonization Mass.

The homeless, most of who live in shelters run by Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity order, came to Rome overnight on buses from across Italy to take part in Sunday's Mass. They're getting seats of honor for the celebration and will then be served lunch in the lobby of the Vatican auditorium.

A Neapolitan pizza maker brought 20 people and three pizza ovens to cook the lunch, which will be served to the guests by some 250 sisters and priests of the Sisters of Charity order.

11: 15 am: A group of around 40-50 nuns from different parts of the country will be present at the ceremony led by Missionaries of Charity Superior General Sister Mary Prema. Besides Archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D'Souza, about 45 bishops from all over India are now in Vatican. Prayers are being sung around the country  to observe the sainthood of Mother Teresa.

At the Mother House in Kolkata, a special mass will be organised. This is where she was buried. The nuns of Missionaries of Charity have promised to celebrate the occasion with the poorest of the poor.

10:45 am: From India, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, is leading a 12-member Central delegation to attend the canonisation ceremony of Mother Teresa. Swaraj met the Indian diaspora in Rome on Saturday.  Swaraj met the Indian diaspora at a reception hosted by India's Ambassador to Italy Anil Wadhwa.

"I have come here with a delegation from different parts of India, with those of different faiths to pay respects to life of Mother Teresa," Sushma Swaraj said. "For the Indian principle is based on the saying: ekam sat, vipra bahuda vadanthi -- the truth is one, the wise call it as many," she said.


Miracles of Mother Teresa

For Mother Teresa to officially become a saint she needed to perform some miracles and according to the National Catholic Register: "The first [miracle] took place in West Bengal and involved the healing of an Indian woman, Monica Besra, whose abdominal tumour was so severe that her doctors abandoned hope of saving her.

"Taken into the care of the Missionaries of Charity, she continued to decline and endured such agony from the tumour that she could no longer sleep.

On the one-year anniversary of Mother's passing, the sisters at the home placed a Miraculous Medal that had been touched to the body of Mother Teresa on Besra's stomach. The suffering woman fell asleep, and when she woke up, her pain was gone. Doctors examined her and found the reason why: The tumour had disappeared completely."

After her beatification in 2003, a second miracle was required in order for Mother Teresa to move on to sainthood. This involved Brazilian Marcilio Andrino, who the Church says, unexpectedly recovered from a severe brain infection in 2008 after his family prayed to Mother Teresa.

Andrino, who is 43 and lives in Rio de Janeiro, told a news conference at the Vatican on Friday he felt very grateful but thought anybody else could equally have benefited from her intervention.

When Andrino was afflicted by brain abscesses and hydrocephalus from which doctors feared he would not recover in 2008, the couple prayed to Mother Teresa. He said his condition deteriorated to the point that he struggled to walk down the aisle at his wedding in September 2008 and by early December he was unconscious in hospital.

Andrino was scheduled for brain surgery, but when he suddenly awoke shortly before the allocated surgery time without the headache that had been tormenting him, the doctor told him the intervention would not be necessary. "I was able to spend Christmas with my family and six months later I went back to work with no problems," Andrino said, adding that he and Fernanda later surprised the medics by having two children.