Rebecca Vineyard
September 02, 2016 1:18 pm
ROSLAN RAHMAN/Getty Images

Widely beloved humanitarian icon Mother Teresa will officially become a saint in two days’ time. Pope Francis will canonize her as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church at the Vatican on September 4th, less than two decades after her death. The canonization process actually typically takes longer — in some cases, it’s taken centuries — but the Vatican made the decision to fast-track hers, because she was,and still is, such a popular figure.

Across the world, Mother Teresa is views as a religious icon, and even won the Nobel Peace Price back in 1979. She set up her own religious order, the Missionaries of Charity, in Kolkata, India in 1950. Though she was born in present day Macedonia, Mother Teresa adopted India as her home after moving there in 1929; She became a citizen in 1951, but her work, and influence, really expanded around the world.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi explained in in a recent radio address to the country: “It is natural for every Indian to take pride” in her sainthood; after all, the bulk of her work was in the country.

Modi also explained she “spent her entire life in the service of people belonging to economically weaker and underprivileged sections.

Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal (where Kolkata is located), is planning to make the trip to Rome to witness this, and explained to Time, “I am excited to be a part of the event in Rome. I don’t need a first row seat. I will not go there as a part of state delegation but will be a member of Missionaries of Charity. I will sit with them and witness the moment when Mother will be announced as Saint.”

On August 26th  — which would have been Mother Teresa’s 106th birthday — Banerjee unveiled a life-size statue of the nun in Kolkata. She died in the city in 1997, on September 4th, and her canonization comes on the 19th anniversary of her death.

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