Vatican City, May 19, 2015 / 09:15 am
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi has said that Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta could be canonized during the upcoming Jubilee for Mercy, although he clarified that no concrete plans have been made.
Fr. Lombardi told CNA May 19 that the possible canonization of Mother Teresa during the Holy Year is “a working hypothesis.”
“There is no official date but you can say that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints is studying the cause.”
When asked if there was a second miracle attributed to the nun’s intercession, the spokesman said, “The cause is in the process.”
An Italian cardinal heading one of the Vatican dicasteries who preferred to remain anonymous told CNA May 19 that the canonization was brought up during a Monday meeting between Pope Francis and the heads of various dicasteries in the Roman Curia.
According to the cardinal, the Vatican’s prefect of the Congregation of the Causes for Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, suggested Sept. 4, 2016 – which is being observed as a jubilee day for workers and volunteers of mercy – to the others as a possible canonization date, since it is close to Sept. 5, the nun’s feast day and the anniversary of her death.
The possible canonization of Mother Teresa was also brought up during the May 5 presentation of the Jubilee for Mercy. A journalist from the Italian publication Citta Nuova noted the date for the jubilee celebration on the eve of her feast day, and asked whether the decision signaled that her canonization could be close.
On that occasion Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, which is organizing the Holy Year for Mercy, responded by saying that “everyone is waiting for the canonization of Mother Teresa.”
“Who more than Mother Teresa can be recognized today as one who lived the works of mercy, and who more than she could be capable of sustaining the commitment of millions of people – men, women, youth – in various forms of volunteer work express the beauty of the mercy of the Church?” he asked.
Although no plans are official, the archbishop expressed his desire that all volunteer organizations would find “an opportunity of encounter” in the Sept. 4 jubilee day.
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu Aug. 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia. The youngest of three children, she attended a youth group run by a Jesuit priest called Sodality, which eventually opened her to the call of service as a missionary nun.
She joined the Sisters of Loretto at age 17 and was sent to Calcutta, where she taught at a high school. After contracting tuberculosis, she was sent to rest in Darjeeling, and it was on the way that she felt what she called “an order” from God to leave the convent and live among the poor.
The Vatican granted her permission to leave the Sisters of Loretto and to live her new call under the guidance of the Archbshop of Calcutta.
After she left her convent, Mother Teresa began working in the slums, teaching poor children, and treating the sick in their homes. A year later, some of her former students joined her, and together they took in men, women and children who were dying in the gutters along the streets.
In 1950, the Missionaries of Charity were born as a congregation of the Diocese of Calcutta. In 1952, the government granted them a house from which to continue their mission of serving Calcutta's poor and forgotten.
The congregation quickly grew from a single house for the dying and unwanted to nearly 500 houses around the world.
Mother Teresa set up homes for prostitutes, battered women, orphanages for poor children and houses for those suffering from AIDS.
She was a fierce defender of the unborn saying, and is known to have said, “If you hear of some woman who does not want to keep her child and wants to have an abortion, try to persuade her to bring him to me. I will love that child, seeing in him the sign of God's love.”
She died Sept. 5, 1997, and was beatified just six years later by St. John Paul II Oct. 19, 2003.