Vatican City (CNN) – Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who devoted her life to helping India’s poor, has been declared a saint in a canonization Mass held by Pope Francis in the Vatican.
Pope Francis delivered the formula for the canonization of the Albanian-born nun — known as the “saint of the gutters” — before huge crowds of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City on Sunday morning.
Applause broke out before he completed the formula of canonization, in which he declared “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a saint.”
Francis: ‘May she be your model of holiness’
Pope Francis then delivered a homily, in which he praised Mother Teresa — “this emblematic figure of womanhood and of consecrated life” — for her charitable work.
“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,” he said.
“She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing them their God-given dignity. She made her voice heard before the powers of this world so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime of poverty they created.”
About 1,500 homeless people from across Italy were bused into the Vatican to be given seats of honor at the Mass — and be served a pizza lunch by nuns afterward.
Speeding up sainthood
A Brazilian man with multiple brain tumors was healed after loved ones prayed to Mother Teresa to heal him, according to Avvenire, a newspaper affiliated to the Catholic Church.
‘Saint of the gutters’
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910, Mother Teresa set up her Missionaries of Charity in the slums of Kolkata in 1950 and made her headquarters in the Indian city for nearly half a century.
Her small figure, often in a white-and-blue sari and sandals, became familiar around the world. She died in Kolkata in 1997 at age 87.