Vatican City/Kolkata, Mar 15: Mother Teresa will be made a saint on September 4, Pope Francis announced on Tuesday, March 15, 19 years after the death of the Nobel Laureate who spent 45 years serving the poor and sick on the streets of Kolkata.
"Pope Francis today approved Mother Teresa's elevation to sainthood and set September 4 as the date for her canonisation," said a message from the Vatican to the Mother's House, the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata.
Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity and spent 45 years serving the poor, the sick, the orphaned, and the dying on the streets of Kolkata. She died at the age of 87 in Kolkata in 1997.
The elevation of Mother Teresa to sainthood came after the Church recognised a second miracle earlier, the Missionaries of Charity said.
"We have now received an official confirmation from Vatican that Pope Francis has approved Mother's sainthood and set September 4 as the date for her canonisation. We are very excited and happy about it," Missionaries of Charity Spokesperson Sunita Kumar said.
Archbishop Thomas D'Souza said that the canonisation is a formality but an important one. "This is the last step that the Pope needs the cardinal and sign the decree," D'Souza said.
The Missionaries of Charity and other Christian associations in Kolkata are planning a big thanksgiving Holy Mass on October 2 at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.
Nuns at the Missionaries of Charity said the canonisation in Rome will have a special universal significance because of the Mother's popularity. Sister Prema and Archbishop D'Souza will go to Rome to attend the canonisation.
More than 300,000 pilgrims went to Rome in 2003 for Teresa's beatification - the first step towards sainthood. Mother Teresa was born Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu of Albanian parents in Macedonia in 1910 in what was then part of the Ottoman Empire.
After having lived in Macedonia for some 18 years, she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life. She was granted Indian citizenship in 1951 and received a state funeral after her death.