Former Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, who had written a biography of Mother Teresa soon after she was conferred the Noble Peace Prize and the Bharat Ratna, on Tuesday said that he had anticipated the nun‘s canonization long back as the sacrifices she made for the poor were exemplary.
"In my hearts of hearts, I knew this (her canonization) would come in some day. She was only 18 when she was convinced that her life’s vocation lay in her becoming a missionary in far off India," Chawla told media at a press conference at the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India (CBCI) headquarters here.
"Confronted with disease, destitution and death all around her at a time, there was hardly any health care service to speak of, she sacrificed her life for the poor people. I was moved when I had met her for the first time," he said.
Albanian by birth, Mother Teresa had come to India in 1929 as a noviate nun and lived here subsequently. Devoting her life to the care of the sick and poor, she was conferred the Noble Prize in 1979 and Bharat Ratna in 1980. It was then Chawla had written his biography.
Archibishop of Delhi Anil Couto explained the whole process of beatification and canonisation that begin five years post the death of the holy man or woman. However in case of Mother Teresa, it began soon after her death in September 1997 as the then Pope, John Paul II, waived the waiting period,
"The waiting period ensures that the person has an enduring reputation for sanctity among the faithful. Once a cause has begun, the individual is called a servant of God. The public and private writings must be collected. Once the heroic virtues have been recognised by the Pope, the candidate to sainthood is called venerable," he said.
The next is step towards beatification. For the declaration of a person as Blessed, there has to be the approval of a miracle," he said adding: "After that the church looks for a second miracle. Canonidation is then possible.
During the press conference, CBCI Secretary General Theodore Mascarenhas said that canonisation of Mother Teresa would be an important event for India and he was grateful to the government for the support to the upcoming ceremony.
"We thank the government for its support. It would be an important day for the world, especially for Indians as the Mother came here from Albania and put the gospel values and Indian values together to reach out to millions of brethren in the peripheries and beyond boundaries of caste, creed and religion," he said.
"She didn’t seek to convert you. She sought to make you better. We in India became richer because of her poverty, greater because of her humility, blessed because of her compassion. She lived among us and gave compassion and mercy to those who needed it," he added.