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Woman of mercy

· ​Pope Francis canonizes Mother Teresa ·

He holds her up as the model of holiness for the world of volunteer work

Mother Teresa was “a generous dispenser of divine mercy” among the “abandoned and discarded”. She raised her voice before the powerful of the world “so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime ... of poverty they created”. Pope Francis thus described Mother Teresa during his homily on Sunday, 4 September, in the Canonization Mass for the Foundress of the men and women Missionaries of Charity.

More than a hundred thousand people gathered in St Peter’s Square for the solemn right, one of the central moments of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. During his homily for the canonization Mass, the Pontiff defined Mother Teresa as a “tireless worker of mercy”, and held her up as a “model of holiness” for the numerous representatives of the “the whole world of volunteers” present at the celebration. “How many hearts”, the Pontiff said, “have been comforted by volunteers! How many hands they have held; how many tears they have wiped away; how much love has been poured out in hidden, humble and selfless service!”. That service gives voice to the faith”, he added, “and expresses the mercy of the Father, who draws near to those in need”.

Francis emphasized that “there is no alternative to charity”, and that following Jesus is both “a serious task, and, at the same time, one filled with joy”. Moreover, he remarked, “it takes a certain daring and courage to recognize the divine Master in the poorest of the poor and those who are cast aside, and to give oneself in their service”. This is the mission that Mother Teresa carried out, expending herself in defence of human life — of “those unborn and those abandoned and discarded” — and bending down to “those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity”. Mercy, the Pope affirmed, “the ‘salt’ which gave flavour to her work, it was the ‘light’ which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering”.

At the Angelus which was recited after the conclusion of the Mass, the Pope again referred to the example of Mother Teresa and that of all the Sisters who “give their lives without holding back” in difficult situations. He also wished especially to recall Sr Isabel, the Spanish missionary who was killed in Haiti on Friday, 2 September.

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St. Peter’s Square

July 21, 2018

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