Mother Teresa´s old religious order the Missionaries of Charity was Tuesday stepping up preparations for a host of celebrations to mark her canonisation in Rome on Sunday.
A full programme to mark the conferring of sainthood on the late Albanian Roman Catholic nun and missionary includes a photographic exhibition and a musical comedy on Thursday, a prayer evening Friday and a catechism which Pope Francis will preside over Saturday.
The canonisation will then be held Sunday in St Peter´s Square in a ceremony set to draw tens of thousands of faithful to recognise the sainthood of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize winner, who died aged 87 in India in 1997.
Her followers have essentially regarded her as a saint ever since her death.
“Her canonisation doesn´t change anything, but it´s an official acceptance of the Church and it makes her a strong witness for the world. It brings hope,” said Sister Martin de Porres, 76 and a veteran of more than 50 years with the Missionaries, which Mother Teresa established in Calcutta in 1947.
“She wasn´t an extraordinary person, she was ordinary like us, but she was different in the sense that she was always in continuing communion with God, whatever she was doing.”
Born Gonxhe Agnes Bojaxhiu in 1910 to an Albanian family in Skopje — modern Macedonia but then part of the Ottoman empire — Mother Teresa took holy orders aged 18 and went to India to teach.
Her Missionaries, who dedicate their lives to helping “the poorest of the poor”, now number some 5,000 worldwide.