Today named a saint, in 1979, Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the poor and dying. Courtesy photo
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered today in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City to celebrate the canonization of Saint Teresa of Kolkata, as she will now be known.
“Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defense of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded,” Pope Francis said.
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910, she set up her Missionaries of Charity in the slums of Kolkata in 1950 and made her headquarters in the Indian city for nearly half a century. Her legacy complements Pope Francis’s vision of a humble church that strives to serve the poor.
In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace.” She refused the conventional ceremonial banquet given to laureates, and asked that the $192,000 funds be given to the poor in India, stating that earthly rewards were important only if they helped her help the world’s needy.
During her life, Saint Teresa was named 18 times in the yearly Gallup’s most admired man and woman poll as one of the 10 women around the world who Americans admired most, finishing first several times in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1999, a poll of Americans ranked her first in Gallup’s List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century. She died in 1997 at age 87.
For more information about Saint Teresa, click here.