New Delhi, Sept 4: Pope Francis today declared revered nun Mother Teresa a saint in a canonisation mass at St Peter's square.
"For the honour of the Blessed Trinity... we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Kolkata) to be a Saint and we enroll her among the Saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole Church," the pontiff said in Latin.
The elevation of one of the icons of 20th Century Christianity came a day before the 19th anniversary of her death in Kolkata, the Indian city where she spent nearly four decades working with the dying and the destitute.
Bible in Baluchari silk for Pope from Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who on Sunday attended the canonisation of Mother Teresa here, gifted a Bible bound in Baluchari silk to Pope Francis.
Banerjee handed over the Bible bound in Baluchuri to Kolkata Archbishop Thomas D'Souza and Sister Mary Prema Pierick, the Superior General of the Teresa-founded Missionaries of Charity.
"Bible in Bengali bound in Baluchuri silk presented by @MamataOfficial 2 Sr Prema & Kol Bishop for gift to @Pontifex," tweeted Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien who along with Banerjee attended the canonisation ceremony here.
Kolkata may get first St Teresa church
The canonisation ceremony of Mother Teresa has now paved way for renaming of the Mother Teresa Church in Kolkata to St Teresa Church, possibly the first such church in India.
The church situated in Dum Dum area started functioning around five years ago. It would soon be renamed as St Teresa Church, officials of the Archdiocese Kolkata said.
This could become the first such church in India dedicated or named after Saint Teresa, who worked for 45 years serving the poorest of the poor on the streets of Kolkata.
A special mass was held in the evening across all churches in the city and elsewhere in the state, where faithfuls held special prayers seeking blessings of Saint Teresa. At her death anniversary tomorrow, special prayers and mass would again be held in the morning across several churches.
Tears of joy, emotion, euphoria overtakes Mother House as Teresa becomes Saint
Nuns shed tears of joy and hugged each other, amid euphoric scenes at the Mother House, the global headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, as the orders founder Mother Teresa was declared a Saint by the Vatican on Sunday.
Hundreds of admirers of the Albanian nun, who made Kolkata (then Calcutta) her home for seven decades to serve the poor and the infirm, gathered near the blue, three-storied building since the morning to soak in the festive atmosphere.
Since morning, pilgrims from across the globe started arriving.
Outside, traffic was thrown out of gear, as people carrying blue flags, and lilies in hand, made a beeline for the small, dingy lane leading up to the freshly-painted house, where Mother lived for 44 years and also died on September 5, 1997. The lilies and other flowers were offered at her tomb, as the devout cutting across all religions bent down and prayed.
The entrance to the house was bedecked with blue and white blossoms, the colours that Saint Teresa chose for the sarees to be worn by the nuns of her order.
Two giant screens in two rooms of the house beamed the ceremony at the Vatican live for the visitors, who sat under a life size flex of a smiling Mother Teresa.
Wanting to capture this once-in-a-lifetime moment, the selfie sticks were out and clustered smiling faces huddled together.
"We not miss (sic) anything here. This is history. I will tell my children about it," a French national reared his head out of the frame to quip in broken English.
MoC sisters were busy since dawn, but laughed off any mention of fatigue.
"What are you saying? Today will never come again. We are celebrating victory of humanity," said one.
On how the day has unfolded, she added: "We have had visitors coming in since yesterday. The gates were open for all pilgrims who have made the journey from afar. We realise it's a special occasion and everyone associated with her wants to be part of it."
There were cheers as Pope Francis was seen on the giant screens arriving for the celebrations at the St Peter's Basilica in a ceremonial procession.
The crowd followed the proceedings with rapt attention, but erupted in joy a few minutes past 2 p.m. when he declared that the nun would henceforth be called St Teresa.
Bells rang, the clapping continued for several minutes, some MoC sisters wept, some hugged, and others prayed to celebrate the moment, as Mother Teresa became one of the fastest saints in Catholic history.
The honour came a day before the nun's 19th death anniversary, and only nine days after her 107th birthday.
An elderly lady was seen crying profusely. She came for the programme despite not keeping well, but fell unwell during the time of Mother's anointment, clutching one of the sisters standing at the corridor. She was taken out of the building.
"She had to leave for home as she was keeping unwell and her pain aggravated. She was advised bed rest by the doctors. She said no force could stop her from coming here on this occasion," the nun said later.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation set up a white and blue canopy on the busy A.J.C. Bose Road, close to the Mother House, and organised a ceremony on the occasion. A giant screen was installed there as well.
Minister Firhad Hakim and MP Sultan Ahmed were in attendance throughout to ensure everything was smooth.
Speaking at the KMC event, MoC assistant general Sister Lysa underscored the connect between the Mother and Kolkata.
"Mother's sainthood is a great blessing for whole Church, whole world and for the whole country and in a special way Kolkata. Blessing for entire Missionaries of Charity family and poorest of poor," she said.
"Saint is one who loves God and neighbours. A saint is one who had deep love and union. A saint is one who practices heroic virtues. That was what our Mother was."
"Her path of holiness was very simple.. within the reach of every ordinary person," Sister Lysa, said, praying to Saint Teresa of Calcutta "to bless all of us".
Rabindranath Tagore's popular song "Baro Asha Kore Esheychi Go, kache deke lao, firayo na Janani" (I come with great hopes, draw me towards you, don't refuse, oh Mother,)" was rendered at the programme where representatives of all religions participated.
Kerala Catholics celebrate as Mother Teresa becomes Saint
Catholics in Kerala celebrated on Sunday as Mother Teresa was elevated as a Saint of the Catholic Church.
Currently Catholics here have three native saints Kuriakose Elias Chavara, popularly known as Chavara Achen, and Sister Euphrasia, popularly known as Evuprasiamma (both canonised in 2014) while Sister Alphonsa in 2008 became the first native Indian to be canonised.
Even though not an Indian by birth but citizenship, Mother Teresa was hugely popular in Kerala and on a few occasions, she had visited the state as part of the work of Missionaries of Charity, which she had set up.
The biggest activity was seen at the St Joseph's Church at Thellakom that opened the relics of Mother Teresa that included strands of her hair, a sponge used by her for wiping her face and dress, to those who came for the special mass.
This was the first church in the country to get the relics of Mother Teresa and since then it has been in a museum here.
Parish vicar Antony Kattoopara was excited as hundreds of believers had turned up for the special mass and later they all assembled in the auditorium of the church and witnessed the live telecast from Vatican.
After the ceremony, 1,001 balloons were released into the air by the believers.
Former Kerala Chief Secretary Jiji Thompson, who was also present on the occasion, recalled his meeting with the Mother on two occasions.
"The first was in 1974, when I, as a student leader, met her at her organisation in the capital city. I gave her a bouquet and she immediately bowed and accepted it and said to me to keep smiling always and God bless you. The second occasion was years later when on a flight from Delhi to Calcutta. There was instant clapping of hands when the cabin crew made the announcement that she was on the flight.
"Later when the food was served, she told us that if anyone does not need food, please hand it over and soon everyone got up and offered their food packet to her, such was the love and admiration that people had for her," he recalled.
A public meeting was held and a souvenir was also released at the Mother Teresa Church in the heart of the state capital.
The church is also a children's home set up by Mother Teresa.
In several other Catholic churches here, there was a special mentioning of Mother Teresa during the morning mass.
There are three churches -- Syro Malabar Church, Latin Rite dioceses and Syro Malankara Catholic Church -- in the state that owe allegiance to the Vatican.
Besides the two Cardinals from Kerala, two state ministers Thomas Issac and Mathew T. Thomas, and several Catholic priests and the laity were present at the canonisation programme.
Mother Teresa taught virtue of unconditional love: Christian leaders, admirers
Christian leaders and admirers of Mother Teresa on Sunday expressed happiness at her sainthood, saying she spoke the language of love and compassion.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) in a tweet said: "We pray for Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother. God bless them with many vocations of girls to serve like her."
"The poor whom she loved are also ours," it said in another tweet.
John Dayal, Secretary General of All India Christian Council, said Mother's sainthood is another honour for the land of Mahatma Gandhi.
"Mother is now officially a Saint of the Catholic Church. She always was the saintly Mother for everyone else. This only adds to the joy of everyone who admired her persona and the lesson in love and compassion she taught us."
"For us in India, the joy is personal. And honour to the land of the Mahatma. We are more blessed for these lives who lived amongst us and served the people," he said.
Former Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, who wrote Mother Teresa's biography, said Mother's work was great and any criticism of her was irrelevant.
"You can imagine that in 1948, when Bengal was still reeling under the terrible after-effects of the terrible famine in which four million people had died, and the partition that came in 1947 and into that she stepped as a single nun, no helper, no companion, no money to speak of. She had just got that call that she must serve God," Chawla told CNN News18.
"Those who criticise Mother Teresa, do they know what is the reality of our streets? Could they spend a few days working in the streets and the slums with their own hands before they criticised her?" he said.
Christian theologian Father Francis Gonsalves appreciated the unconditional love Mother Teresa showered on thousands of destitute and poor.
"The beauty of Mother Teresa is her power of love, unconditional love. She was a messenger who always had something to teach others, not through sermons but through compassion and mercy," he said.
Father Savarimuthu Sankar, of the Archdiocese of Delhi, said: "Mother Teresa taught us the real virtue of love and that we should not give from our abundance but share whatever we have."
Pope earlier tweeted
Let us imitate Mother Teresa who made works of mercy the guide of her life and the path towards holiness.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) September 3, 2016
Mother Teresa was awarded Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize in 1962 and Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She was beatified as "Blessed Teresa of Calcutta" on the 19th of October 2003. In December 2015 a second miracle was credited to her intercession by Pope Francis.
Mother Teresa had begun her missionary work with the poor in 1948. It was at that time that she had replaced her traditional Loreto habit with a simple white cotton sari decorated with a blue border.
Read more: Nun to Saint: Mother Teresa timeline
In the same year she became Indian citizen and took training in Patna's Holy Family Hospital after which she started serving the poorest of the poor in the slums. She acquired the permission of Vatican on the 7th of October 1950 to start a congregation which later became the Missionaries of Charity.
Many Indians including politicians and people from all walks of life will be present in Vatican as Mother Teresa is declared a Saint. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in his latest episode of radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat' praised Mother Teresa for her good deeds for poor Indians and he had said that,'
OneIndia brings to you the live updates as Pope Francis declares Mother Teresa a saint:
Unmatched fervour observed in the crowd at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican City. pic.twitter.com/LWiv2B71AL— Harsimrat Kaur Badal (@HarsimratBadal_) September 4, 2016
2:15 pm: Vatican: Pope Francis proclaims Mother Teresa as Saint.
Vatican: Pope Francis proclaims Mother Teresa as Saint pic.twitter.com/VI17MV7qzc— ANI (@ANI_news) September 4, 2016
2:05 pm: MotherTeresa's canonisation ceremony underway at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican Cit.
1:26 pm: MotherTeresa's canonization ceremony to begin shortly.
1:20 pm: Pope Francis arrives for mega ceremony, special prayers at Sacred Heart Church.
12:55 pm: Mother Teresa canonisation ceremony: Pope invites 1,500 homeless for lunch at Vatican city.
12:25 pm: Pilgrims head towards the Vatican this morning for Mother Teresa canonisation mass.
St. Peter's Square at the Vatican filling up for the canonisation of Mother Teresa of Calcutta now to be a Saint. pic.twitter.com/YoGuz5DL1g— Patrick Clarke (@PatrickClarke74) September 4, 2016