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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Canonization of Teresa of Calcutta

This morning, at 10:30am local time at the Vatican, the Holy Father presided over the celebration of the Holy Mass, during which he Canonized Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the founder of the Missionaries of Charity.

When the entrance procession was complete, Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB; Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, accompanied by Father Brian Kolodejchuk, MC, the postulator for Mother Teresa's cause for Canonization, stood before the Holy Father and asked him to proceed with the canonization of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

Petition for Canonization
of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
presented by Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB

Most Holy Father,
Holy Mother Church beseeches Your Holiness
to enroll Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
among the Saints, that she may be invoked as such by all the Christian faithful.

The Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints then presented a brief biography of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.  The prayer booklet prepared for this morning's Mass contains the following biographical outline:

Teresa of Calcutta (Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu) was born in Skopje, on 26 August 1910, the fifth and last child of Nikola and Drane Bojaxhiu. She was baptized the following day and received her First Communion at the age of 5½. From that time forward, she was filled with love for souls. In 1928, desirous of serving as a missionary, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland. She went to India in 1929, professed first vows in May 1931 and perpetual vows in May 1937. During the twenty years she spent teaching in India, she became known for her charity, zeal, devotion and joy.

On 10 September 1946, she received from Jesus the call to leave everything behind and serve him in the poorest of poor. In 1948, she obtained ecclesiastical permission to begin her apostolate in the slums of Calcutta. The Missionaries of Charity became a Religious Congregation of diocesan right on 7 October 1950, and were raised to a Congregation of pontifical right on 1 February 1965. The specific charism of the Congregation is to satisfy the infinite thirst of Jesus for love and for souls by working for the salvation and the sanctification of the poorest of the poor.

To extend her mission of love, Mother Teresa started the branch of the Missionaries of Charity Brothers (1963), the Contemplative Sisters (1976), the Contemplative Brothers (1979) and the Missionaries of Charity Fathers (1984), as well as the Association of cooperators, suffering cooperators, and the Corpus Christi movement for priests. At her death, on 5 September 1997, the Congregation numbered 3,842 Sisters, working in 594 houses in 120 nations.

Despite a painful experience of inner darkness, Mother Teresa travelled everywhere, concerned, like Mary in the account of the Visitation, to spread the love of Jesus throughout the world. She thus became an icon of God’s tender and merciful love for all, especially for those who are unloved, unwanted and uncared for. From heaven she continues to kindle a light for those living in darkness here on earth.

Formula for Canonization
pronounced by His Holiness, Pope Francis
For the honour of the Blessed Trinity,the exaltation of the Catholic faithand the increase of the Christian life,by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ,and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own,after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance,and having sought the counsel of many of our brother Bishops,we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a Saint and we enroll her among the Saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole Church. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
With the pronunciation of these words, this holy woman will now be venerated throughout the world as Saint Teresa of Calcutta.  Her official feast day will be celebrated annually on September 5, the day she completed her earthly journey and entered the house of the Father.
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