Mother Teresa of Calcutta spent her life devoted to helping India’s poor. Teresa’s work had been recognized by the Catholic Church for much of the 20th century. Onto the second decade following her death, Pope Francis on Sunday morning held a large gathering at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City to Canonize her as a Saint.

The Pope spoke in Latin to a large crowd of thousands who then broke out into a thunderous applause.

“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.”

Teresa was known as an emblem to the followings of Jesus and missionaries before her. She was said to have performed many miracles to the sick that were witnessed by many.

Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. The organization ran homes to care for patients suffering from HIV, tuberculosis and disabilities. The organization also coordinated soup kitchens for the poor and sheltered orphaned children. Today the Missionaries of Charity consist of over 5,000 nuns and is ran in nearly 140 countries.

After her death in 1997, Pope John Paul II approved of a miracle performed by Mother Teresa, thus paving the way for her beautification in 2002 which is the five-year waiting period before a person can be recognized or considered for sainthood.

Famed Atheist and Intellectual Christopher Hitchens was a vocal critic of Mother Teresa during the 1990’s. He went after the poor conditions in which she housed her orphans and her stance as an advocate for pro-life and anti-abortion operations. In 1995 Hitchens published a critique titled The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice detailing the fundamentalist in what was Mother Teresa and labeled her as a ‘fraud’ and ‘demagogue’.

A passage in the book reads:

“Mother Teresa is less interested in helping the poor than in using them as an indefatigable source of wretchedness on which to fuel the expansion of her fundamentalist Roman Catholic beliefs.”

Hitchens described her methods of disciplining children as strongly grotesque and intellectually ridiculous. He says that the process of her canonization should be reviewed. Since the book was published, many critics discredited Hitchen’s views because they lacked ideological evidence and cited that views held by atheists strongly contract the views of Catholicism. Hitchens died in 2011.

Cardinals and worshipers continue to reside in St. Peter’s Square on Labor Day for her Feast Day. The Feast Day is a tradition among the Saints. The cardinals have praised the nun’s devotion to God and thoughtfulness towards the unborn.

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