Pope Francis has declared Mother Teresa of Calcutta a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.
Her canonization came just 19 years after her death, Reuters reports.
Tens of thousands of pilgrims packed St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sunday for a service to honor the tiny nun.
Known as the “saint of the gutters” during her life, Mother Teresa worked among the world’s neediest in the slums of the Indian city now called Kolkata and become one of the most recognizable faces of the 20th century.
A Nobel peace laureate, her legacy complements Pope Francis’s vision of a humble church that strives to serve the poor.
Standing under a canvas hung from St. Peter’s Basilica showing the late nun in her blue-hemmed white robes, Francis said she was a “dispenser of divine mercy” and held world powers to account “for the crimes of poverty they created”.
“For Mother Teresa, mercy was the salt which gave flavor to her work, it was the light which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering.”
Francis said it might be difficult to call her “Saint” as people felt so close to her they spontaneously used “Mother”.
Around 120,000 people attended the ceremony, according to Vatican estimates.
The Church defines as saints those believed to have led such holy lives they are now in Heaven and can intercede with God to perform miracles – two of which are needed to confer sainthood.
She is credited with healing an Indian woman from stomach cancer in 1998 and a Brazilian man from a brain infection in 2008.
The Brazilian, Marcilio Andrino, and his wife attended the ceremony and were blessed by the pope.
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