By Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie
The canonization of Mother Teresa a year ago by Pope Francis was a momentous occasion for Catholics. Every newly-made saint’s brand of holiness teaches us vivid things about love and God which are distinctive and unique.  The small, spare woman in the iconic white sari serves as a potent symbol of the indispensability of the Church.  St. Teresa of Calcutta is a glowing reminder that millions of the world’s poor and vulnerable depend on the immense good that the Church does as she goes quietly about her daily business. To impede her mission or persecute her is to hurt those who rely on her for assistance.

Like many saints, St. Teresa’s path to holiness and canonization was rich in improbability. In 1946, the little Albanian nun was nothing but a humble teacher in India when she received her “call within a call.”  She heard a quiet, internal suggestion to help the poorest of the poor while living among them.  In an act of almost terrifying audacity, she made her way (with five rupees in her pocket) to what was probably the most rank and dire slum in the world to serve the destitute and abandoned.  That was in 1948. Today, the religious congregation she founded consists of thousands of sisters and is active in over a hundred countries. They run hospices for people with leprosy, AIDS, and tuberculosis.  They run soup kitchens, mobile clinics, dispensaries, and orphanages, all for free, while living their vows of poverty and chastity.