Pope Francis has announced that Mother Teresa, who was popularly referred to as a living saint in her lifetime, would be made a saint on September 4, 2016.
Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize and founded a sisterhood that runs 19 homes. She died aged 87 in 1997 and five years after, John Paul II accepted a miracle attributed to her as authentic.
The Roman Catholic nun who was famous for her work with the poor in Calcutta, India was beatified in 2003, the first step to sainthood.
Catholic faithful in Nigeria have received the news with excitement.
Director of Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Rev. Fr. Patrick Alumuku, who met the late Mother Teresa in the course of his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, told Daily Trust that “I received the news joyfully. I had heard a lot about her before I went to study in Rome, where she was already being mentioned as a living saint. It was of interest for me to discover that she had a home there.”
Alumuku who said he used to visit the home often to see the homeless people of Rome go there to have a decent meal, at least once a day said: “She was a contemporary of Pope John Paul II who was also very appreciative of her work. While he was preaching around the world, Mother Teresa was showing the love of God to the world.”
He said “They were both considered extraordinary people. Pope John Paul II has been canonised and now her. In recent history, they are the two people who have gone through the fastest period of canonisation. It’s hundreds of years after anyone died before they are beatified and then about 20 years before they are canonised,” he said.
The clergyman who said he was shocked that a woman so famous and holy had cracks on her feet added that: “She spoke about her motivation for working for the poor and urged all of us to ensure that love was at the heart of all that we did. That without love, all the degrees we were acquiring meant nothing.