VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Blessed Teresa of Calcutta will soon be declared a saint. Pope Francis has approved another miracle attributed to the intercession of the Missionary of Charity, and Thursday the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued a decree officially announcing the event.
The miracle attributed to her intercession involved the miraculous cure of a Brazilian man with a viral brain infection. He fell into a coma in December 2008, suffering from multiple abscesses and accumulation of fluid around the brain. Family members begged Bd. Teresa to pray for his healing, and 30 minutes before he was due to undergo surgery, he woke up, alert and pain-free, and within a day was cleared of any symptoms of illness.
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in former Yugoslavia on August 26, 1910, she went on to found the Missionaries of Charity, coming to be known as Mother Teresa of Calcutta for her work in the slums of India rescuing abandoned children. She had first spent several decades as a Sister of Loreto, taking her name after the French saint Thérèse of Lisieux.
In 1946, she received a series of visions and locutions that served as her inspiration to found the Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor. According to her, Our Lord had asked for "victims of love" who would "radiate His love onto souls."
The congregation was officially established in 1950, and more houses would be established around the world in the coming decades, including in nearly every Communist country at the time. Her work drew increasing national attention, with Mother Teresa winning the Indian Padmashri Award in 1962 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
She was also asked to address the United Nations in 1994, at the International Conference on Population and Development. She confronted the population control agenda of conference attendees with a speech devoted almost entirely to condemning abortion.
I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?
She did the same at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994, with President Bill Clinton and the First Lady present, both abortion advocates. "Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love," she said, "but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion."
Mother Teresa spent the last half of her life in spiritual aridity, experiencing an intense sense of rejection and separation from God. It would be a secret agony she endured with only the knowledge of her spiritual director, made known to the world only after her death when her diaries were published. She called this interior experience "the darkness," the "painful night" of her soul. Similar to her patron saint's final months — St. Thérèse of Lisieux also endured a time of interior darkness during which she felt God's absence — the experience allowed Mother Teresa to mystically participate in the agonies endured by those separated from God, who "thirsts" for such souls.
Mother Teresa passed away on September 5, 1997. She had established 610 motherhouses around the world with 4,000 Missionary sisters in 123 countries. She was beatified in 2003.