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Monday, September 5, 2016

SAINT TERESA OF KOLKATA

Pope Francis yesterday canonized Anjeze Gonzhe Bojaxhiu--more popularly known as Mother Teresa--before 120,000 at St. Peter's Square.  In 2003, nearly a quarter million squeezed into that space for her beatification. 

St. Teresa of Kolkata was born in Albania, now the Republic of Macedonia, left for Ireland at the age of 18, and then to India a year later.  She took her first religious vows in 1931 at the age of 20 while teaching at St. Teresa's School in Darjeeling.  She chose to be named after Therese de Lisieux, the patron saint of Missionaries.

In 1950 she founded Missionaries of Charity, a network now of 4,500 sisters active in 133 countries.  They mostly run homes for those afflicted with AIDS, leprosy and other ailments, plus administer to the poorest of the poor and run orphanages.  Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

Her time in Hindu India was continuously troublesome for a Catholic, and her life was peppered in controversy.  She had a reputation for gaining honors and financial support from shady characters such as Jean-Claude Duvalier of Haiti, Charles Keating of the savings and loan scandal, embezzler Robert Maxwell and Enver Hoxha of Albania.

Popular religious skeptic Christopher Hitchens has been a particular thorn in her side.  He thought Mother Teresa was a fanatic, fundamentalist and fraud.  Any time you thoroughly investigate a miracle, you will have serious problems with authenticity.

What I thought might disqualify her for sainthood, however, had to do with the simple fact that she had appeared to have lost faith in God.  Read Mother Teresa:  Come Be My Light.

I've regularly posted on this subject in this blog site. To quote from On the Matter of Sainthood:

A few years ago I posted on "How to Become a Saint."  In the 2000 years of the Catholic Church, perhaps 3,000 have been sainted.  That's 1.5/year.  With very little doubt, they all deserved this highest of status.  It is remarkable that in a three-year period, two saints have come from Hawaii:  Saint Damien and Saint Cope.  Today, Sister Marianne Cope was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI.  Six others also gained this honor, with a total of four being female.

According to U.S. Catholic, just on 12 May 2013 another 802 saints were recognized, joining more than 10,000 saints.  Pope John Paul II (from 1979 to 2005), left, canonized more saints than the popes from the previous 500 years.  However, I might still be right on numbers, for this publication might have been confusing beatified and canonized people.  Anyway my book on SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity  nearly a decade ago said:

The Catholic Church recognizes special people who demonstrate a life of almost perfect virtue, and more. Generally, the Pope first beatifies that individual, particularly when it can be shown that this person performed a miracle. Six years after her death, Mother Teresa attained beatification. But a book (see later section for details) was published showing that she “lost” faith. For sainthood, there must be a second miracle. Thus, miracles are fundamental and necessary for Christianity. Something tells me that Mother Theresa will nevertheless someday attain Saint Theresa status, for there is a plethora of miracles awaiting dredgment.

Incidentally, there are Hindu saints, and India has produced more saints than any other culture.  There are also Buddhist saints, including LIVING sainthood.  Interested in becoming a saint?  Read my section on How to Become a Saint.

But back to Catholic saints, Europeans, especially those from Italy, dominate the statistics.  Last year Juniper Serra, canonized by Pope Francis, became only the 12th America-related individual to gain sainthood.  Serra also has a dark legacy.  With Pope Francis from South America, more can be expected, but with verifiable compassion.

Want to become a saint?  Odds provided by Forbes:
  • 1 in 20 million     becoming a saint
  • 1 in 20 million     dying from a dog bite
  • 1 in 11.5 million  attacked by a shark
  • 1 in 10 million    becoming POTUS (President of the USA)
  • 1 in 5.7 million    killed by tornado
  • 1 in 3 million       dying from food poisoning
  • 1 in 2.3 million    struck by lightening
  • 1 in 0.7 million    crushed by a meteor
  • 1 in 0.66 million  winning an Olympic Gold medal
  • 1 in 11,500           winning an Oscar
  • 1 in 220                writing a best selling novel
Forget about sainthood.  Write a book.

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There is a tropical storm in the East Pacific, to become Hurricane Newton just about the time he crashes into Baha:


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