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Pope canonizes Mother Teresa, recalls her commitment to the poor, unborn

September 05, 2016

Pope Francis canonized Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-97), the foundress of the Missionaries of Charity, on September 4 during an outdoor Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

An estimated 120,000 pilgrims attended the Mass, according to Vatican Radio.

The Christian life does not consist in “merely extending a hand in times of need,” Pope Francis preached. “The task which the Lord gives us, on the contrary, is the vocation to charity in which each of Christ’s disciples puts his or her entire life at his service, so to grow each day in love.”

Reflecting upon Mother Teresa’s life, the Pope emphasized her commitment to the unborn and to the poorest:

Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defence of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded. She was committed to defending life, ceaselessly proclaiming that “the unborn are the weakest, the smallest, the most vulnerable.”

She bowed down 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 this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime – the crimes! – of poverty they created.

Pope Francis also recalled her closeness to those she served.

“I think, perhaps, we may have some difficult in calling her ‘Saint Teresa’: her holiness is so near to us, so tender and so fruitful that we continue to spontaneously call her “Mother Teresa,’” he said. “May this tireless worker of mercy help us increasingly to understand that our only criterion for action is gratuitous love, free from every ideology and all obligations, offered freely to everyone without distinction of language, culture, race or religion.”

 
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