Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa a saint on Sunday, honoring the tiny nun for having taken in society’s most unwanted and for having shamed world leaders for the “crimes of poverty they themselves created,” the Associated Press reports from the Vatican City.
Francis held up Mother Teresa as the model for a Catholic Church that goes to the peripheries to find poor, wounded souls during a canonization Mass that drew an estimated 120,000 people — rich and poor, powerful and homeless — to a sun-filled St. Peter’s Square.
“Let us carry her smile in our hearts and give it to those whom we meet along our journey, especially those who suffer,” Francis said in his homily.
The canonization was the highlight of Francis’ Holy Year of Mercy and may come to define his entire papacy, which has been dedicated to ministering to society’s most marginal, from refugees to prostitutes, the sick, poor and elderly.
Applause erupted in St. Peter’s Square even before Francis finished pronouncing the rite of canonization, evidence of the admiration Mother Teresa enjoyed from Christians and non-Christians alike during her life and after her 1997 death.
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