Pope invites 1500 homeless for lunch at Vatican

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata was canonised as a saint for the entire Catholic Church on September 4, 2016, at the Vatican by Pope Francis which was deeply religious and yet beyond religion. She was later sent to learn nursing in Bihar and after completing the course she joined Nirmal Shishu Bhavan in Kolkata assisting Mother Teresa from 1976.

"She was committed to defending life, ceaselessly proclaiming that the unborn are the weakest, the smallest, the most vulnerable", the Pope said.

Crowds flooded the Vatican to celebrate the highly anticipated canonization of Mother Teresa, an event which Catholics and non-Catholics alike had looked forward to since the nun's death in 1997.

"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", the Pope said at the beginning of Mass, prompting thunderous applause from the large congregation. "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". No, really. The Pope just granted her sainthood. "As Indians we have to feel proud about the canonisation of Bharat Ratna Mother Teresa".

While Francis is clearly keen to hold Mother Teresa up as a model for her joyful dedication to society's outcasts, he is also recognizing holiness in a nun who lived most of her adult life in spiritual agony sensing that God had abandoned her. The ceremony came on the eve of the 19th anniversary of Teresa's death in Kolkata, where she spent almost four decades working in wretched slums.

"She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity".

Pope Francis is following in the footsteps of Mother Teresa by offering some 1,500 homeless people a pizza lunch at the Vatican after her canonization Mass.

Ceremonies were also expected in Skopje, Macedonia, where St. Teresa was born, and also in Albania and Kosovo, where people of her same ethnic Albanian background live.

Her legacy fits neatly with Francis's vision of a poor church that strives to serve the poor, and the ceremony will be a highlight of his Holy Year of Mercy which runs until November 8.

"Let us carry her smile in our hearts and give it to those whom we meet along our journey, especially those who suffer", Francis said in his homily.

A figure must be credited with two miracles to be considered for 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.

But Mother Teresa was not without detractors.

"I have a lot of admiration for Mother Teresa but I think everyone should be welcome here", Tarcone said.

Francis has never publicly mentioned this "darkness", but he has in many ways modeled his papacy on Teresa and her simple lifestyle and selfless service to the poor: He eschewed the Apostolic Palace for a hotel room, made welcoming migrants and the poor a hallmark and has fiercely denounced today's "throwaway" culture that discards the unborn, the sick and the elderly easily.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and died in 1997.

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