VATICAN CITY — After months of anticipation, the date of Mother Teresa’s canonization has finally been announced. It falls on Sept. 4, which this year will also mark a special jubilee for workers and volunteers of mercy.
Though it’s been rumored for months that Mother Teresa’s canonization will take place Sept. 4, the Vatican made the date official during a March 15 consistory of cardinals.
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on Aug. 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia. After joining the Sisters of Loretto at age 17, she was sent to Calcutta, where she later contracted tuberculosis and was sent to rest in Darjeeling.
On the way, she felt what she called “an order” from God to leave the convent and live among the poor.
After she left her convent, Mother Teresa began working in the slums, teaching poor children and treating the sick in their homes. A year later, some of her former students joined her, and, together, they took in men, women and children who were dying in the gutters along the streets.
In 1950, the Missionaries of Charity were born as a congregation of the Diocese of Calcutta. In 1952, the government granted them a house from which to continue their mission of serving Calcutta's poor and forgotten.
She died Sept. 5, 1997, and was beatified just six years later by St. John Paul II on Oct. 19, 2003.
In addition to Mother Teresa, the consistory also decided on the canonization dates of four other blesseds: Maria Elisabetta Hesselblad, Jose Sanchez del Rio, Stanislaus of Jesus Mary and Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero.
The canonization of Jose Sanchez del Rio is also noteworthy. He will be made a saint on Oct. 16, alongside Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero.
José Luis Sánchez del Río was brutally tortured and killed when he was 14 years old during the 1924-1928 religious persecution by Mexican President Plutarco Elías Calles. José Luis had enlisted in the ranks of the Cristeros, under the command of Gen. Prudencio Mendoza.
He was martyred by the Federal Army on Feb. 10, 1928. According to the story, the soldiers cut off the soles of his feet and forced him to walk barefoot to his grave. Moments before he was killed, the boy shouted, “Viva Cristo Rey!” or “Long live Christ the King!”
His character was one of the main protagonists in the film For Greater Glory.
Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero, frequently referred to as the “gaucho priest,” will be Argentina’s first saint.
Born on March 16, 1840, the priest suffered from leprosy throughout his life and is known for his service to the sick and the dying. He died in 1914 and was beatified by Pope Francis on Sept. 14, 2013.
Sweden will also receive a new saint in Blessed Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad, who will be canonized June 5, alongside Polish Blessed Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary Papczynski.
Born in the small village of Faglavik, in Sweden’s western coast province of Alvsborg, on June 4, 1870, Maria Elisabeth was a nurse and a convert to Catholicism. After her conversion, she went on to found a new order of Bridgettines, called the Most Holy Savior of St. Bridget.
She died in Rome on April 24, 1957, and was beatified April 9, 2000, by St. John Paul II.
Blessed Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary Papczynski is a Polish priest born in 1631 and beatified by Benedict XVI in 2007.
Often referred to as the “Father Founder,” Stanislaus is known for his writings and constant encouragement to contemplate God’s mercy and to turn to Mary Immaculate for guidance and protection.
In addition to founding the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the priest also experienced visions of Holy Souls in Purgatory and urged penance and prayers on their behalf.