Iconic nun and missionary Mother Teresa is set to become a Catholic saint next week, in a ceremony and Mass led by Pope Francis.
The open-air ceremony will be held on September 4 in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City, and is expected to draw a crowd of hundreds of thousands.
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910 in the Macedonian capital of Skopje, she became a nun and spent several years in Kolkata, India after training with the Sisters of Loreto.
She worked as a teacher, and started an order called The Missionaries of Charity in 1950 to look after less-fortunate people.
In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace” and donated the fund to the poor.
She continued to travel the world visiting various branches of the Missionaries of Charity despite ailing health problems, right up until her death in 1997. She donated the prize’s funds to the poor in India.
She was officially beatified within the Catholic church in 2003 by Pope John Paul II – the first step to sainthood.
While she was one of the 20th century’s most iconic and beloved figures, her hardline opposition to contraception and abortion drew controversy among her followers and critics.