Around 350 people from the Indian city of Kolkata will attend Mother Teresa’s canonization at the Vatican on Sept. 4, reports The Times of India.
Among the official team of nearly 200 people is the Missionaries of Charity superior-general Sister Prema and Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta who is expected to share the altar with Pope Francis.
Along with a delegation of state government officials are chief minister Mamata Banerjee and a delegation of state government officials. A group of 150 Catholics from Kolkata will also travel to Italy for the canonization and conduct a short pilgrimage afterwards.
“I have grown up idolizing Mother and would often follow her to Nirmal Hriday in Kalighat, which is close to where I live,” layperson Rumila Mukherjee told The Times of India.
“She was a symbol of compassion and kindness. For Kolkatans, Mother has always been a saint. Now that she is being formally christened, I wouldn’t like to miss the ceremony,” said Mukherjee.
Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, now the capital of Macedonia. She went to India in 1929 as a novice with the Loreto nuns. She left the congregation in the late 1940s and in 1950 started the Missionaries of Charity to serve the “poorest of the poor,” in Calcutta, now called Kolkata.
Mother Teresa died of cardiac arrest at the congregation’s motherhouse in Kolkata on Sept. 5, 1997, aged 87. Her canonization process began two years afterward. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 2003. Her tomb at the motherhouse has become a pilgrimage center.