Pope Francis on Tuesday (3-15-16) said Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata will become a saint on Sept. 4.
Affectionately known as the "saint of the gutter" for her unconditional love for the poor, abandoned and marginalized, Mother Teresa earned several international honors, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
She was beatified in 2003 by Pope John Paul II after being attributed to a first miracle, answering an Indian woman's prayers to cure her brain tumor, according to the Vatican. One miracle is needed for beatification — described by the Catholic Church as recognition of a person's entrance into heaven — while sainthood requires two.
Francis officially cleared Mother Teresa for sainthood on Dec. 17, 2015, recognizing her "miraculous healing" of a Brazilian man with multiple brain abscesses, the Vatican said.
Five years must pass from the time of the candidate’s death before an examination can begin. The pope can dispense with this waiting period. A bishop is placed in charge of the initial examination of the candidate’s life. Once deemed worthy by the Vatican, the candidate is called a “Servant of God.”
In 2003, Pope John Paul II put Mother Teresa on the fast track for possible sainthood by allowing the beautification process to begin just two years after her death.
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu of Albanian parents on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, in what is now Macedonia, Teresa died in Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, on September 5, 1997.
She joined the Loreto order of nuns in 1928. In 1946, while traveling by train from Kolkata to Darjeeling, was inspired to found the Missionaries of Charity order. The order was established four years later and has since opened more than 130 houses worldwide to provide comfort and care for the needy.
While her actions gained widespread admiration, Mother Teresa was not beloved by all and was criticized for the quality of care in her clinics and taking donations from Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and disgraced American financier Charles Keating, according to the Associated Press.
By the time of her death, Mother Teresa's India-based Missionaries of Charity supported 4,000 nuns and ran hundreds of orphanages, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and clinics around the world.
Francis, who has made outreach to the poor a priority for the Catholic Church, met Mother Teresa more than two decades ago while he was Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Argentina. He is known for admiring her ministry as well as her fearlessness in speaking out on behalf of society’s outcasts.
“I would have been afraid to have had her as my superior, since she was so tough,” he once joked.