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On this day in history, September 4, 2016, Mother Teresa is canonized: “Generous Giver of Divine Mercy”

Mother Teresa was canonized or officially recognized as a saint on this day in history, September 4, 2016.

She was given the title “Saint Teresa of Calcutta”.

“Mother Teresa was a generous dispenser of divine mercy in all aspects of her life, making herself available to all, welcoming and defending human life, the unborn and the abandoned and rejected,” Pope Francis said during his canonization mass.

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Mother Teresa “devoted herself to the defense of life,” Pope Francis said, and “bowed to those left weary and dying by the roadside, recognizing in them their God-given dignity.”

“For Mother Teresa, Mercy was the ‘salt’ that flavored her work, it was the ‘light’ that shone in the darkness of the many who, because of their poverty and suffering, could no longer shed tears,” he said.

Pope Francis and a crowd hold a picture of Mother Teresa

Pope Francis canonized Mother Teresa on September 4, 2016 and gave her the new title “Saint Teresa of Calcutta”. The Albanian nun died almost exactly 19 years before her canonization. (ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)

The canonization mass took place the day before her 19th anniversary of her death on September 5, 1997 at the age of 87.

Born Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in present-day Skjope, North Macedonia, Mother Teresa was of Albanian descent, according to the Nobel Peace Prize website.

She first felt the call to religious life in her youth when, in September 1928, at the age of 18, she left home for Ireland, where she joined the Sisters of Loreto.

The Sisters of Loreto gave the teenage Agnes the religious name “Sister Maria Teresa,” in honor of Saint Therese of Lisieux, the Vatican website says.

A little over a year after arriving in Ireland, she was sent on a Loreto Sisters mission to India, a country that would become her adopted homeland.

In 1948 Mother Teresa left the Loretto Sisters to begin the founding of a new order, the Missionaries of Charity.

She took her first vows in May 1931 and was assigned to the community of the Sisters of Loreto in Calcutta, according to the Vatican website.

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In 1937 she made her perpetual vows with the Sisters of Loreto and became known as “Mother Teresa”.

In 1948 Mother Teresa left the Loretto Sisters to begin the founding of a new order, the Missionaries of Charity.

“On August 17, 1948, she dressed for the first time in a blue-trimmed white sari and passed through the gates of her beloved Loreto Monastery to enter the world of the poor,” the Vatican website reads.

Mother Teresa surrounded by children in Kolkata

Mother Teresa was the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, now a worldwide religious organization. The group’s habit consists of a blue and white sari, seen here on Mother Teresa herself. (Tim Graham/Getty Images)

A little over four months later, Mother Teresa encountered what would become her life’s work for the first time.

“On December 21, she went to the slums for the first time. She visited families, washed some children’s wounds, nursed an old man who was sick in the street and nursed a woman who was dying of starvation and tuberculosis,” the Vatican website said.

In 1950 the Missionaries of Charity were officially authorized to serve in the Archdiocese of Calcutta.

“By faith I am a Catholic nun. According to my vocation, I belong to the world.”

There are now orders around the world to care for the dying and the poorest of the poor.

In the decades following the founding of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa gained international recognition for her work of service to the poor and dying.

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In 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize “for her commitment to helping suffering humanity”.

“By blood I am Albanian. I am Indian by citizenship. I am a Catholic nun by faith. As for my vocation, I belong to the world. As for my heart, I belong entirely to the heart of Jesus,” she once said.

While “all Christians are called to be saints,” the USCCB website states, “saints are persons in heaven (officially canonized or not) who lived heroic lives of virtue, gave their lives for others, or for the faith.” have suffered martyrdom and the…” are worthy of emulation.”

A large crowd attended the canonization of Mother Teresa on September 4, 2016. (Getty Images)

After a person’s death, there is typically a five-year waiting period, according to the USCCB, before the process of canonization begins.

In 1999, two years after her death, this five-year period was extended by what is now St. Pope John Paul II.

Once the person has been recognized by the Vatican and declared to have lived a holy life, they will be declared “Venerable,” according to the Vatican’s website.

After this step, the Vatican must approve a miracle that is due to the intercession of the potential saint.

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Typically, this is a medical cure that cannot be scientifically explained in any other way.

Alleged miracles can be submitted to the Vatican Dicastery for the Causes of Saints for investigation. This is the organization that decides the validity of these claims.

Scientists and doctors will vote on whether the alleged miracle can possibly be explained by science, the Vatican website says.

Once the miracle is approved, the person is “beatified” and given the title of “Blessed.”

At the canonization of Mother Teresa, the two miracles officially attributed to her intercession were the healing of an Indian woman and a Brazilian.

Mother Teresa in a November 1960 photo.

Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 “for her commitment to helping suffering humanity”. (Keystone Features/Getty Images)

The first miracle, the healing of Monica Besra of Bengali, India, occurred in 1998, according to the website of the Magis Center, a Catholic organization.

Besra was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor and doctors thought she was terminally ill and too weak for surgery.

“One day Monica went to Mass and saw a ray of light emanating from a picture of Mother Teresa. Then one of the Sisters of the Missionary of Charity took a medal of the Virgin Mary and tied it around Monica’s swollen stomach,” the website reads.

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That day, September 5, 1998, marked the first anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death.

Then the sister prayed, “Mother, today is your day. you love the poor Do something for Monica.”

The tumor disappeared eight hours later, the Magis Center noted.

Of the eleven doctors who examined Besra, only two were Catholic – and none had an explanation for how she could be cured so quickly.

In 2002, this healing was recognized as a miracle by the Vatican. Mother Teresa was beatified in October 2003.

A nun of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity holds a rosary during a prayer vigil in preparation for Mother Teresa's canonization at the Basilica of St. John in Latheran in the Vatican, Friday, September 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia )

A nun of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity holds a rosary during a prayer vigil in preparation for Mother Teresa’s canonization at the Basilica of St. John in Latheran in the Vatican, Friday September 2, 2016. Her order began in Kolkata and is now on represented all over the world and takes care of the poorest of the poorest. (The Associated Press)

The second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa’s intercession was the healing of Marcilio Andrino in 2008.

Andrino, who lived in Brazil, had a brain infection and hydrocephalus, the Magis Center said.

“Marcilio’s wife Fernanda often placed a relic of Mother Teresa on her husband’s head. She also prayed a novena to Mother Teresa of Calcutta asking for healing, but Marcilio’s case only got worse,” the website reads.

He was taken to hospital in a last-ditch effort to save his life – but that proved unnecessary.

On December 9, 2008, Andrino fell into a coma in the early hours of the morning, the Magis Center said.

He was taken to hospital in a last-ditch effort to save his life – but that proved unnecessary.

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“The doctor who was supposed to operate left the operating room to ask another doctor for help. When he came back, Marcilio was awake and in no pain; he even asked the doctor, ‘What am I doing here?’ “That was at 6:10 p.m., just about 14 hours after Marcilio went into a coma,” the Magis Center said.

Pope Francis greets the family of the man saved by Mother Teresa's intervention

Brazilian mechanical engineer Marcilio Andrino (centre) and his wife Fernanda Nascimento Rocha are greeted by Pope Francis during the canonization mass for Mother Teresa. Andrino’s miraculous healing from brain disease has been attributed to the intercession of Mother Teresa. (ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)

Brain scans taken that day and four days later showed a remarkable and unexplained healing.

“Several surgeons looked at the brain scans, but none could come up with an explanation for how Marcilio healed so quickly,” the Magis Center said.

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This miracle was approved by the Vatican in December 2015 – and the date for Mother Teresa’s canonization was announced in March.

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