Pope Calls Mother Teresa A Model of Holiness

For many Catholics and non-Catholics worldwide, Mother Teresa of Calcutta has served as a model for living as a servant of God on earth. Her kindness, compassion, and desire to  serve others became an exemplary embodiment of the love Christians are called to characterize.

This weekend Pope Francis canonized Teresa a Catholic saint.

The Pope declared:

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.

Tens of thousands of Catholics, including hundreds of sisters from the Missionaries of Charity founded by Saint Teresa, flocked to Rome to witness this proclamation coming merely 19 years after the sister’s death. Thousands of homeless from across Italy also attended mass and were provided meals by the Church following the service.

During his homily, Pope Francis said:

Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defense of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded. She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity. She made her voice heard before the powers of this world so they might recognize their guilt for the crime of poverty they created.

Mercy was the salt which gave flavor to her work, it was the light which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering.

May she be your model of holiness.

Saint Teresa was rapidly recognized by the Church who usually wait decades to begin the canonization process. Pope John Paul II provided dispensation to waive the traditional 5 year wait to begin Mother Teresa’s beatification process. The Church recognized several miracles attributed to her. Saint Teresa personally affected the lives of many who are overjoyed at her canonization.

Saint Teresa remains controversial in some circles for her criticism of governments, her demand of generosity, her call to love both the rich and poor equally, and her anti-abortion stance. She has said, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

Her goal in life, however, was to spread love and peace everywhere she went and in any way she could.

If you can’t feed one hundred people, then feed just one.

Small works are those that change the world. Her love and work with the poor, marginalized, young, and hungry made her a savior to those who were overlooked. She is revered by even the non-Catholic poor of India. She said, “Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.” But her main goal was always to help others:

I see somebody dying, I pick him up. I find somebody hungry, I give him food. He can love and be loved. I don’t look at his color, I don’t look at his religion. I don’t look at anything. Every person whether he is Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist, he is my brother, my sister.

The Missionaries of Charity continue her work around the world.