Pope Francis hailed Mother Teresa as a “tireless worker of mercy” as he proclaimed her a saint on Sunday.

Despite the formality of the occasion, “her sanctity is so close to us, so tender and fruitful, that spontaneously we will continue to call her ‘Mother Teresa’,” Pope Francis said to applause at the canonisation Mass on Sunday.

“Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defence of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded,” the Pope said in his homily during the Mass.

An estimated 120,000 people packed St Peter’s Square, many holding umbrellas or waving fans to keep cool under sweltering heat. But upon hearing Francis “declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a saint”, the crowds could not contain their joy, breaking out in cheers and thunderous applause before he finished speaking.

The moment was especially sweet for more than 300 Albanians who live in Switzerland, that came to Rome for the canonisation. Daughter of Divine Charity Sister Valdete said: “We are so happy and honoured. We are a small people, but have had so many martyrs.”

Born in 1910 to an ethnic Albanian family in Skopje, in what is now part of Macedonia, Mother Teresa went to India in 1929 as a Sister of Loreto and became an Indian citizen in 1947. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950.

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection