A Saint in the Making

Blessed Mother Teresa, How About Saint Mother Teresa?

On December 17, 2015, Pope Francis approved the second miracle through the intercession of Blessed Mother Teresa allowing her canonization and sainthood. Mother Teresa was declared “Blessed” by Pope John Paul II in 2003 after recognizing her first miracle. To be recognized a saint in the Catholic Church is a great honor and means that the person lived an honorable life devoted to the service.

It is a long and hard process to be declared as canonized saint with particular requirements. Fr. Scott Woods of St. Michael the Archangel Parish here in Findlay describes the lengthy process of which an individual goes through to become a canonized Saint.

“There is typically a five-year waiting period after someone dies before a “cause” for sainthood can be opened.  It begins with the local bishop, who investigates and decides whether or not there is a case for pursuing a declaration of sainthood. This is based on the holiness of the deceased person, and testimony from many people is gathered. The bishop may then forward the cause to the Congregation for Causes of Saints at the Vatican,” Fr. Woods said.

If the person passes all of those obstacles, the case passes on to the Vatican.

“The body further investigates the life and holiness of the person in question, and if there is evidence of the person having been a true martyr and/or having lived a life of heroic virtue, the cause is referred to the Pope, who bestows the title “Venerable” on the possible saint. If the person died for the faith, they are beatified and are then referred to as “Blessed.”  If not a martyr, a miracle has to be verified, having been bestowed by God through the intercession of the venerable person. Once that is verified, beatification occurs.  Finally, a second miracle bestowed by God through the intercession of the martyr or confessor (one who lived a life of heroic virtue) must be verified.”

A person who went through this tedious process is Mother Teresa.

She was born in Skopje, Macedonia as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu to a very devout Catholic family.  Her mother taught her to be a very compassionate and charitable individual and by age eighteen, she found out her true calling and devoted her life to God by becoming a nun. She left Macedonia and joined the Sisters of Loreto Order in Ireland where she chose the name Teresa. In 1929, she left for Calcutta, India to teach. While in India, after completing her Final Profession of Vows, she became known as Mother Teresa. While on a retreat to Darjeeling she had a “call within a call” to leave teaching and help the poorest and sickest of Calcutta. For the forty-seven years, Mother Teresa cared for and helped the unloved and unwanted people of Calcutta. In 1997, after years of declining health, Mother Teresa died at the age of 87. She was given a State funeral for her exemplary work toward the people of India, an honor few in India receive outside dignitaries.

During her life, Mother Teresa became close with many world leaders including several Popes most notably Pope John Paul II, and United States President, Ronald Reagan. Mother Teresa also received many awards and achievements including the Jewel of India, and the Nobel Peace Prize. Mother Teresa was one of two people to ever be honored as an honorary citizen of the United States while still alive; the other being Winston Churchill.

Many people are elated at the fact Mother Teresa will be canonized as a Saint. They feel that the life she lived in service to God and others is exactly what a Saint should be. One person who feels strongly for her Sainthood is Geri Leibfarth the Religious Education Director at St. Michael’s.

“I fully support her canonization. She is one who lived her life in pure charity, giving totally to the least of God’s Kingdom. I feel blessed to have lived in her lifetime and been witness to how she brought Christ to others,” Leibfarth said.

Father Scott Woods shares a similar opinion.

“Blessed – soon to be Saint – Teresa of Calcutta clearly lived a life of holiness. She was known the world over thanks to television and print media, and her life of virtue was most certainly evident.  She is a model of love and respect for all of us – regardless of our religious beliefs – because she cared for each and every person she encountered with tenderness and compassion,” Fr. Woods said.

Mother Teresa’s life is summed up well in one of her most famous quotes when she says, “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.”

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