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 honours just two decades after her death.
The Vatican said yesterday 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 canonisation, but Italian media has speculated that the ceremony will take place in the first week of September – to coincide with the anniversary of her death and during Francis’ Holy Year of Mercy.
“This is fantastic news. We are very happy,” said Sunita Kumar, a spokeswoman for the Missionaries of Charity in the eastern city of Kolkata (earlier called Calcutta), where Mother Teresa lived and worked.
The miracle responsible for Mother Teresa’s canonisation concerned the inexplicable cure in 2008 of a Brazilian man suffering from a viral brain infection that resulted in multiple abscesses.
The Rev Brian Kolodiejchuk, the postulator spearheading Mother Teresa’s canonisation case, said in a statement yesterday 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 was at her parish church, praying.