Pope Francis on Sunday declared Mother Teresa of Calcutta a Saint, saying that she shone a light in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering.
In his homily during the canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope highlighted how the little nun who died in 1997 had taken in society’s most unwanted, and shamed world leaders for the “crimes of poverty they themselves created”.
To the some 120,000 pilgrims who filled the Square for the canonization Mass, Pope Francis held up Mother Teresa as the model for a Church that goes to the peripheries to bring comfort and the light of the Gospel to poor and wounded souls.
“Let us carry her smile in our hearts – he said – and give it to those whom we meet along our journey, especially those who suffer” he said.
Applause erupted in the Square even before the Pope finished pronouncing the rite of canonization…
And admitting that even he will find it hard to call her “Saint Teresa” because her holiness is so tender and fruitful that we will continue to spontaneously call her “mother”, Francis praised her as the merciful saint who defended the lives of the unborn and those abandoned and discarded.
“She bowed down – he said – before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity”.
“She made her voice heard before the powers of the world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crimes of poverty they themselves created” he said.
“For Mother Teresa – he continued – mercy was the light which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering”.