By Eva-Maria Kolmann
An Indian prelate has described Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, who will be canonized by Pope Francis Sept. 4, 2016, as the “best missionary of the millennium.”
Bishop Salvadore Lobo of Baruipur, who headed the canonization committee, reported that Christ had said to Mother Teresa in a vision: “Go into the houses, I cannot go alone, you be my face.” Indeed, “for the world today she has become the face of Christ,” the bishop said.
Bishop Lobo said that Hindus are also convinced that she was a saint. He said: “Some Hindus wonder why the Church needs to go through a canonization process. They say, ‘Mother Teresa was a saint anyway. But if the Church needs these formalities, then so be it.’”
Hindus also understand, Bishop Lobo added, that “service to the poor is service to God.” The bishop reported that during the beatification process as well, a large number of witnesses had come forth, including many Hindus and Muslims. He described the canonization as “a great joy” for all of India.
Bishop Lobo, who met Mother Teresa as a young seminarian and worked with the dying at her “Kalighat” hospice in Calcutta as a volunteer, described his first impression of her as that of a “transformative saint” who “emanated the personification of Christ.”
“She taught the world a lesson: Jesus lives in the hearts of the poor. We shall find His face in them,” the prelate said.
Mother Teresa was born Anjezë (Agnes) Gonxha Bojaxhiu Aug. 26, 1910, in Skopje (at the time it was part of the Ottoman Empire, today it is part of Macedonia). Her family was Albanian. At age 18, she entered the Order of the Loreto Sisters.
Soon thereafter she was sent to India, where she worked as a teacher until 1946, when she felt the calling to serve the poor.
At first she went alone into the slums of Calcutta, but was then joined by several former fellow students. She founded the order of the “Missionaries of Charity,” which continues to take care of the poorest of the poor all over the world today.
Mother Teresa was already considered a saint during her lifetime and became famous the world over as the “Angel of the Poor.” She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
She died Sept. 5, 1997 in Calcutta, India. Pope John Paul II beatified her on Oct. 19, 2003, only six years after her death. Her liturgical feast day will be 5th of September.
With picture of Mother Teresa and ACN founder Father Werenfried van Straaten (© ACN)
Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.