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Pope Francis Approves Second Miracle Tied to Mother Theresa, Officially Setting Her Up to Become a Saint


"The process for being declared a saint is ancient, traditional, and often mysterious."

Caption:NEW DELHI, INDIA - APRIL 12: In this file picture taken, 12 April 1995, Mother Teresa smiles as she poses for photographers in Calcutta. Mother Teresa will be beatified, 19 October 2003, in a ceremony in St Peter's Square, Vatican. The beatification ceremony is the penultimate step to being canonised a saint and has been the shortest in modern history. Following the beatification, a second miracle has to be verified by the Vatican before Mother Teresa can be proclaimed a saint. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

VATICAN CITY (TheBlaze/AP) — There's big news coming out of the Vatican, as Pope Francis has signed off on a second miracle needed to make Mother Teresa a saint, giving the nun one of the Catholic Church's highest honors just two decades after her death.

The second miracle involved a man who suffered from abscesses on his brain, but who the Vatican contends was cured after his wife appealed to Mother Theresa, the BBC reported.

The Vatican said Friday that Francis approved a decree attributing the miracle to Mother Teresa's intercession during an audience Thursday, his 79th birthday. Mother Theresa is known for caring for the poorest of the poor — actions that made her an international phenomenon.

"The Holy Father has authorised the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to proclaim the decree concerning the miracle attributed to the intercession of blessed Mother Teresa," the Vatican announced on Friday, according to the BBC.

Mother Teresa, left, along with the newly elected Superior General Sister Nirmala at the Missionaries of Charity, Calcutta on Thursday, March 13, 1997. Mother Theresa's order elected the Indian-born Sister Nirmala as the successor Thursday to the Nobel Laureate who is too ill to go on as head of the charity mission she founded 50 years ago. Sister Nirmala, 63, a Hindu convert to Catholicism, was chosen to head the worldwide Missionaries of Charity. (AP Photo)

She was so revered, in fact, that the nun, who died on Sept. 5, 1997 at age 87, was once awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her work helping the poor in Calcutta, India.

Her Calcutta, India-based Missionaries of Charity order had nearly 4,000 nuns and ran roughly 600 orphanages, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and clinics around the world at the time of her death.

No date was set for the canonization, but Italian media have speculated that the ceremony will take place in the first week of September — to coincide with the anniversary of her death, and during Francis' Holy Year of Mercy.

Mother Teresa, born in Albania as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910, was beatified in 2003 in Rome after the Vatican said an Indian woman's prayers to the nun rid her of an incurable tumor.

The miracle needed for her canonization concerned the inexplicable cure in 2008 of a man in Brazil with multiple brain abscesses who, within a day of being in a coma, was cured, according to a report in Avennire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference.

The Vatican ascertained that his wife's prayers for Mother Teresa's intercession were responsible, the report said.

Becoming a saint in the Catholic Church is a complicated and measured process through which officials investigate to discern whether miracles have unfolded, among other evidence.

“The process for being declared a saint is ancient, traditional, and often mysterious,” explains the For Dummies website (the site offers a wonder primer on sainthood). “Evidence must be presented to persuade Church officials that the person in question in fact lived a virtuous life, had faith, and had the support and help of God.”

The Catholic Church goes through a long process of verification, in which the person’s sermons and actions are heavily scrutinized, with his reputation and earthly duties examined to ensure that he is worthy of canonization.

In this file picture taken, 12 April 1995, Mother Teresa smiles as she poses for photographers in Calcutta. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Investigators also look at miracles that God has performed through the person’s life. Generally speaking, two miracles are required in order for someone to be considered for sainthood.

It should be noted that there is a difference between beatification and canonization, with the former more of a localized event and the latter a celebration centered at the Vatican and the Catholic Church as a whole. Catholic News Service has more:

During a beatification ceremony, the bishop of the diocese where the person dies asks that the candidate be declared blessed; at a canonization, the prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes speaks in the name of the whole church and asks that the candidate be declared a saint. [...]

Beatification is an “administrative act” by which the pope allows a candidate for sainthood to be venerated publicly in places closely associated with his or her life and ministry; the place may be as small as one city, although usually it is the diocese where the person lived or died. [...]

A canonization, on the other hand, is a formal papal decree that the candidate was holy and is now in heaven with God; the decree allows public remembrance of the saint at liturgies throughout the church. It also means that churches can be dedicated to the person without special Vatican permission.

So, there you have it. The two are similar, but not the same. Read more about that here.


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