To humanity’s great joy, Mother Teresa is now officially declared as Saint by Pope Francis in the ongoing Canonization Mass today at the Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican City. Although Canonization is a religious process and most of the canonized saints, over 600 in the last 50 years, were priests, when the Vatican finds someone like Mother Teresa, one of the biggest crusaders of the humanity, the whole process, even if it is religious in nature and belongs to one particular community, becomes a moment the whole words watches; becomes a development that people of all faiths across different communities await. The twitter trends of different counties once again reaffirmed our faith it.

Mother Teresa Twitter Collage3

As expected, Mother Teresa trending on top on Twitter India page. It was only natural that Twitter trends of Kolkata were on the same line.

In the Christian nations, she was on top or in top 10 in many countries. Italy, USA, UK, Mexico and Brazil were the big Christian countries where Mother Teresa prominently figured in people’s opinions though some other major Christian countries like France or Germany that I checked were not showing her in the top 10 trends. Italy, the Vatican’s backyard was obviously painted with Mother Teresa at top. In the US, she was trending at number 2, in Mexico at number 5, in Britain at number 6 and in Brazil at number 8.

Mother Teresa Twitter Collage1

What was heartening to see that she was trending even on the Twitter Trends of some of the Muslim countries. She was at number 2 in Lebanon trends, at number 4 in United Arab Emirates, at number 6 in Malaysia and at number 10 in Nigeria. She was in top 10 in Indonesia trends though I could not take the screenshot.

Mother Teresa Twitter Collage2



Mother Teresa will be canonized tomorrow at the Canonization Mass held by the Vatican. The Mass is scheduled to begin at 10:30 AM local time (2 PM Indian time). Over 100,000 people are expected to participate. According to Mother Teresa’s official website, different programmes towards the Sainthood of Mother Teresa will be organized for a week that began on September 1. The whole world, especially Mother Teresa’s followers and India is looking forward to witness this moment because India has been Mother’s land of Karma. Prime minister had mentioned it is in his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat and an Indian delegation led by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, that included Mamata Banarjee and Arvind Kejriwal, will represent India during the ceremony.

But if there are many who see a saint in Mother Teresa, there is a section that has made it the primary task to tarnish Mother Teresa’s image. They have written books. They keep on giving interviews and addresses that present Mother Teresa as some dogmatic religious fanatic whose main concern was religious mission and Catholicism spread and her humanitarian work just a façade for it. They raise fingers on absence on the financial accountability of her organization, Missionaries of Charity. They question poor and unhygienic practices being adopted in the houses for the dying started by her and now run by her order.

Yesterday, while looking for some information on Mother Teresa, I came across a strange development. The links that the Google search returned with had the Wikipedia page on Mother Teresa at top and, as happens, its summary was given in the corner. As we can see in this screenshot taken yesterday (September 2, 2016), that Mother Teresa was from Spain and she born and died there in the 16th Century. The screenshot says, quoting Wikipedia, that Mother Teresa was born on March 28, 2016 in Spain’s Gotarrendura and she died on October 4, 2016 in Alba de Tormes, again in Spain. But the initial three lines of the article is about Mother Teresa from Calcutta only who was born in Skopje, Macedonia, then part of the Ottoman Empire.

Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910 in Skopje and died on September 5, 1997 in Calcutta, India.

To continue..

Mother Teresa Wiki Sep3

Mother Teresa Wiki



The article originally appeared on DailyO.

In the last 50 years, from the days of Pope Paul VI that began in 1963, the Vatican has given the world some 640 saints, more than dozen a year.

Pope John Paul II, who was pope for more than 26 years, from 1978 to 2005, in fact made more saints that all previous popes together, over 480, since the papal supremacy in declaring sainthood for someone was officially established in the 16th Century. Pope Benedict who was pope for some eight years and who renounced papacy, leaving the office in 2013, had presided over 45 canonizations while the current pope, Francis, has already added 28 names to the canon of the recognized saints.

One of the canonizations by him is of the Martyrs of Otranto, 813 inhabitants of the Italian city Otranto who were massacred in 1480 after they refused to convert to Islam. If we count by the individual names, then Pope Francis has surpassed even Pope John Paul II. While Mother Teresa’s canonization mass is scheduled for September 4, 7 more will be elevated to the status of sainthood on October 16.

Almost of them have been catholic priests or adherents of Catholicism like Mother Teresa was, a staunch Catholic with orthodox values especially on women rights, abortion, contraception, divorce with her rigid views on how to treat the poor in her homes for the dying. Much of Mother Teresa’s criticism is directed by these values along with the questions raised on the financial accountability of her order.

But what sets Mother Teresa apart from the other saints or those who have been conferred with the sainthood, that the whole canon of modern saints doesn’t give you a name as big a humanitarian soul as Mother Teresa was. In fact, we can say Mother Teresa has been the most popular catholic throughout the world since she took the centre-stage with the global spread of her humanitarian organization, the Missionaries of Charity. For her service to the poor and destitute, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, a recognition that no pope has received so far. So, at least we can say the Vatican is going to honour humanity this time by canonizing someone who not only worked for the church, but also for the people of all faiths from across the world.

The religious nature of canonization has seen many controversies.

Pope Francis had canonized Junioperra Serra, an 18th Century missionary from Spain who migrated to America, in 2015. Serra has left behind him a fractured legacy of conversion and torture and large scale protests were held by the Native Americans against his canonization. According to the claims of Native American organizations, Serra’s mission killed some 90 percent of Native Californians at that time.

Italian Padre Pio (1887-1968) who was canonized by John Paul II in 2002 was described as ignorant and psychopath by many and it was a widely held belief that his order of monks was busy in exploiting financial gains by displaying Pio’s stigmata and comparing it to the Crucifixion marks of Jesus Christ. Due to these controversies, the Vatican was initially against Padre Pio but, under the compulsions that only they can explain, the later popes dismissed all allegations against Padre Pio.

Probably the most famous canonization controversy is of Pope Pius IX (1792-1878), the last pope to rule over the Papal States before they fell to the Italian army. He was pope for over 31 years and is now reviled for his dogmatic views, his hatred for modernism and his fad on the supremacy of the papal teachings. He called Jews dogs and is notorious for abducting an six year old Jewish boy only because he was secretly baptized by a Roman Catholic maid. Attempts to beatify him, the first step towards the canonization process, failed many times due to widespread criticism and protests. But the formidable Pope John Paul II beatified him in 2000. Let’s see when and by whom he is canonized.

In fact, Pope Pius IX was a compromise replacement for Pope Pius XII (1876-1958), another controversial pope whose canonization has been vehemently opposed for not doing enough on the Holocaust, the massacre carried out by Germany and its allied nations in the Second World War. The conduct of his papacy has been widely criticized. Though the process to canonize him was started in 1965, he is yet to be beatified.

Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac of Croatia (1898-1960) was another controversial candidate who was beatified by John Paul II. He was beatified in 1998 but his canonization is still due. John Paul II described him as a martyr of faith as he had led Croatian church in the Second World War. His wartime records and affiliations have been questioned and Jews and Serbs say he did not criticize their massacre during the war the way he should have. He, in fact, supported the Independent Croatia that came into being with support from Adolf Hitler’s Germany.

These are some of the most talked about canonization controversies. The whole list is long. But the Vatican remains unaffected, unmoved. Because for the Vatian, “being the martyr/proponent of faith” has always been the primary criteria to declare someone a saint. Pope John Paul II, while beatifying Cardinal Stepinac, had said, “Beatifying a son of the church does not celebrate particular historic choices that he has made, but rather points him out for imitation and for veneration for his virtue (read adherence to church and faith here).” It is rare that the Vatican canonization process finds some who has also been a crusader of humanity that Mother Teresa was.