Catholics in Kerala upbeat over Teresa’s canonisation

Thiruvananthapuram, March 15 (IANS) The Catholic community in Kerala was in upbeat mood after hearing the news that Mother Teresa would be canonised on September 4.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of India president Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis, in a statement, issued here said this is going to be a huge boost to all those who are involved in care giving.

“This not only brings a lot of joy to the millions of Indians cutting across religions but also hope to the crores of destitute and orphans across the world. I also greet all at the Missionaries of Charities who are doing a wonderful job,” he said.

Dr. Joshua Mar Ignathios, the Metropolitan Bishop of the Eparchy of Mavelikkara of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, told IANS that according to him Mother Teresa was a ‘saint’ even when she was alive.

“This was an accepted fact, not just in India but across the world because of the yeomen service she did for the underprivileged. Its because the Catholic Church has a process through which sainthood has to be cleared and hence it came now,” he said.

Speaking to IANS, Paul Thelekkat, spokesperson of the Syro Malabar Church, said that being the chaplain of Mother Teresa’s convent in Ernakulum for 30 years, he was very happy to hear this news.

“She is most apt saint for India of the present era. Her saintliness was not only mystical but heaven centred humanism where every human person especially the poor, forgotten marginalised presented the wounded face of the crucified Christ,” he said.

Catholics in Kerala constitute 50 percent of the 61.41 lakh Christians out of the state’s 334 lakh population.

Currently, Indian Catholics have three native saints – Kuriakose Elias Chavara, popularly known as Chavara Achen, and Sister Euphrasia, popularly known as Evuprasiamma, both of whom were canonised in 2014 and Sister Alphonsa became the first native Indian to be canonised in 2008.

Pope Francis had cleared the way in December for sainthood for Mother Teresa, a Nobel peace laureate, who died in 1997 aged 87.

The Albania-born nun and missionary was by far the most high-profile of the five candidates for sainthood considered by the Vatican panel on Tuesday.

Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, she joined the Sisters of Loretto at the age of 17 and was sent to Calcutta. There she later contracted tuberculosis, and was sent to rest in Darjeeling. On the way, she felt what she called an order from God to leave the convent and live among the poor.

After she left her convent, Mother Teresa began working in the slums, teaching poor children, and treating the sick in their homes.

Known across the world as the Mother, Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the poor, sick, old and lonely in the slums of Kolkata.

She died on September 5, 1997, and was beatified just six years later by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003.

More than 300,000 pilgrims went to Rome in 2003 for Teresa’s beatification — the first step towards sainthood.

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