“Hope it is not an ill thought humor,” says Teresa author on canonization news

Kolkata (Matters India): Reacting to the news of the imminent canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta which has gone viral in the social media, her countryman who runs an internet based signature campaign to petition the Vatican to canonize Mother Teresa says, “Not exactly the expected good tidings.”

He quickly adds, “Hope it is not an ill thought humor.”

The UK-based author of Mother Teresa: Saint or Celebrity, and Professor of Sociology at Birmingham University Dr Gezim Alpion started the signature campaign last year has almost 1800 supporters to date.

In a note of caution, Alpion updated his signature campaign May 19 saying, “Until the Holy See makes up its mind, let us encourage as many people as possible to support the campaign for the canonization of the Albanian-born nun by signing the online petition.”

Dr Alpion asserts, “I hope the Holy See has learnt the right lessons from the Monica Basra affair.”

A controversy in the previous phase of the Nobel laureate’s beatification in 2003 stemmed from the claims of 35-year-old Indian tribal woman, Monica Basra, who insisted that she was cured of stomach cancer by praying to Mother Teresa.

Indian rationalists called Mother Teresa’s miracle hocus-pocus and demanded the arrest of the then head of Mother Teresa’s order Sr Nirmala, arguing she fudged facts to claim a miracle to secure sainthood for the nun.

The Vatican has not confirmed plans for the canonization.

The Vatican news agency I Media reported that Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, had conferred with Italian government officials about tentative plans for a ceremony on September 4, 2016.

In India, a spokesman for the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church told Reuters May 18 that the canonization would be held next September during the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

When questioned about rumors of the planned canonization, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, cautioned that no firm plans have been announced. He said that the September 4 date could be considered a “working hypothesis.”

Born as Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in Albania in 1910, she joined as a missionary with the Sisters of Loreto at the age of 18 and arrived in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1929. She began her charity work the same year she got Indian citizenship in 1948 and founded the Missionaries of Charity to work for the welfare of poor and the downtrodden.

Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997, and was declared “”Blessed Teresa of Calcutta” by the late Saint Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003.

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