Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008

Mother Teresa, aka Agnes Bojaxiu

Dates: 1910-1997
Status of Cause: Beatified (2002)
Progonosis: Will be canonized as soon as a second miracle is documented

Mother Teresa, the Nobel laureate founder of the Missionaries of Charity, is "an almost paradigmatic modern saint", says Robert Ellsberg, author of All Saints. Indeed, so beloved is she that her case harks back to an earlier age, when "the long bureaucratic procedure of canonization seemed almost a technicality". Pope John Paul II allowed her cause to proceed immediately rather than waiting the traditional five years after her death. But miracles cannot be ordered up, and as early as 2007, Indian bishops were expressing impatience that the crucial second wonder had not been authenticated. Some wondered whether a recent book of her letters, Come Be My Light revealing a decades-long struggle with spiritual doubts would hurt her cause, but the book had been published at the suggestion of Vatican theologians who thought her perseverance had strengthened her status. A new book, I Love Jesus in the Night, by one of the priests with whom she corresponded, should support that contention.

David Van Biema