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Vatican Confirms Pope Francis Will Canonize Mother Teresa of Calcutta In Rome On Sept. 4

( [email protected] ) Mar 15, 2016 10:00 AM EDT
Pope Francis will officially declare Mother Teresa of Kolkata a saint on Sept. 4, one day before the 19th anniversary of her death, the Vatican has confirmed.
Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Pope Francis will officially declare Mother Teresa of Kolkata a saint on Sept. 4, one day before the 19th anniversary of her death, the Vatican has confirmed.

According to a report from NPR, the pontiff issued the decree setting the date of Mother Teresa's canonization at a morning meeting with cardinals in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.  

The highly-anticipated event will likely prove a highlight of the current Holy Year of Mercy, which the Pope inaugurated at the Vatican on Dec. 8. Notes American Magazine: "During her life, dressed in a simple sari, she gave extraordinary witness to the mercy and love of God for the poorest and the most discarded in this world, and it is truly fitting that she be canonized in this Jubilee Year of Mercy by the pope of the poor."  

In April 2014, the double canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII in St. Peter's Square drew an estimated 800,000 pilgrims to Rome. Similarly, hundreds of Mother Teresa's followers are expected to visit Rome when she's canonized.

Pope Francis officially announced Blessed Mother Teresa would be made a Saint Dec. 17, 2015, after deciding that the miraculous 2008 healing of a Brazilian man with a severe brain infection and kidney disease had been due to her intercession.

"Mother Teresa has often been described as a citizen of the world. Here's how she once described herself: 'By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus,'" Francis said at the time.

"Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa was the third child of an Albanian couple who ran a grocery. Her father died when she was around 8 years old, and when she turned 18, she joined the Irish-based Sisters of Loreto, where she received the name Sister Mary Teresa."

Mother Teresa was conferred the title "Blessed" in Rome, Italy, on October 19, 2003, after Pope St. John Paul II recognized the miraculous healing of an Indian woman with a tumor in her abdomen.

The Catholic Church requires one "medical" miracle before a deceased Catholic can be declared "blessed," and another such miracle, occurring after that declaration, before he or she can be canonized as a saint. 

In addition to winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, Mother Teresa famously founded the Missionaries of Charity, a religious order dedicated to care of the "poorest of the poor," in Kolkata, in 1950.

By the time of her death, her order of nuns had more than 4,000 members, known by their distinctive blue-bordered white saris, working on five continents.

In addition to Mother Teresa, Francis approved final canonization plans for four other saints Tuesday, including Stanisłaus of Jesus and Mary of Poland, Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad of Sweden, José Gabriel del Rosario, and José Luis Sánchez del Río of Mexico.