Known as "saint of the gutters," Mother Teresa will officially become a Roman Catholic saint in a Sept. 4 ceremony at the Vatican. Pope Francis, who announced the news on Tuesday, wished to make Mother Teresa a saint during the current Holy Year, according to Reuters.
Pope Francis has made caring for the poor a foundation of his religious career, something he and Mother Teresa have in common.
Mother Teresa, also known as Agnese Gonxha Bojaxhiu, was born in Skopje (what is now Macedonia). She started the Missionaries of Charity order of nuns in the 1950s to help the poor in Kolkata, India (then known as Calcutta). She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for dedicating her life to that cause.
Sunita Kumar, a spokesperson for the Missionaries of Charity, was very excited to learn of the sainthood ceremony. "I am waiting to get there because it has been absolutely jubilant news and I can't thank God enough that it is happening in my lifetime," she said.
Mother Teresa and the order of nuns have been accused in the past of having an ulterior motive to convert the poor of Kolkata to Christianity. However, the order has rejected these claims, pointing out that most of the poor and sick they were helping had only days left to live. Conversion to Christianity is a long process and many would not have lived through it.
When Mother Teresa becomes a saint in September, she will belong to a very elite group who have been deemed holy enough in their lives to receive the highest honor in the Roman Catholic Church.
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