Pope approves miracle for Mother Teresa's canonization
Pope Francis has signed off on the miracle needed to make Mother Teresa a saint, giving the tiny nun who cared for the poorest of the poor one of the Catholic Church's highest honors just two decades after her death.
The Vatican said Friday that Francis approved a decree attributing a miracle to Mother Teresa's intercession during an audience with the head of the Vatican's saint-making office on Thursday, his 79th birthday.
No date was set for the canonization, but Italian media have speculated that the ceremony will take place in the first week of September. "This is fantastic news. We are very happy," said Sunita Kumar, a spokeswoman for the Missionaries of Charity in the eastern city of Kolkata, where Mother Teresa lived and worked.
The miracle responsible for Mother Teresa's canonization concerned the inexplicable cure of a Brazilian man suffering from a viral brain infection that resulted in multiple abscesses. By Dec. 9, 2008, he was in a coma and dying, suffering from an accumulation of fluid around the brain.
The Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, the postulator spearheading Mother Teresa's canonization case, said in a statement Friday that some 30 minutes after the man was due to undergo surgery that never took place, he sat up, awake and without pain, and was a day later declared to be symptom-free.
The Vatican later attributed the cure to the fervent prayers to Mother Teresa's intercession by the man's wife, who precisely at the time of his scheduled surgery was at her parish church, praying alongside her pastor.
Mother Teresa, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, died on Sept. 5, 1997, aged 87. At the time, her Missionaries of Charity order had nearly 4,000 nuns and ran roughly 600 orphanages, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and clinics around the world.
Francis, whose papacy has been dedicated to ministering to the poor just as Mother Teresa did, is a known fan. During his September 2014 visit to Albania, Francis confided to his interpreter that he was not only impressed by her fortitude, but in some ways feared it.