Mother Teresa to be made a saint in September, Pope Francis confirms

Mother Teresa will be made a saint on 4 September, Pope Francis has announced.

He cleared the way for the Albanian nun to be canonised after her second miracle, the final stage in Catholic saint-making process, was recognised in December. The final approval was made at a meeting of cardinals on Tuesday who presided over her case alongside five other candidates for sainthood.

It remains unclear whether the Pope will travel to Calcutta for the ceremony, as the Catholic Church in India have begged him to do, or conduct one in Rome.

An ethnic Albanian nun lights a candle in front of an image of Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa. Catholic theology means a saint can intercede directly to God on behalf of devoteesReuters

Teresa died in 1997 aged 87. Five years later then-Pope John Paul II accepted a first miracle attributed to her as authentic. She was subsequently beatified, the first step towards sainthood, in 2003.

Under Catholic doctrine a saint is close to God and can intercede with Him for people who pray to the saint.

The process of canonisation involves the submission of evidence from writings and witnesses to determine whether the candidate lived a holy life. If approved two miracles must then attributed to the person.

In 2003 Pope John Paul II judged the curing of a Bengali tribal woman from an abdominal tumour to be Teresa's first miracle. The Missionaries of Charity, which Teresa founded in 1950, said the woman had been cured after a photo of the nun was placed on her stomach. Pope Francis recognised a second miracle in December 2015, which involved the healing of a Brazilian man with numerous brain tumours in 2008. 

Her case has made unusually quick progress throughout the rigorous and often expensive process of becoming a saint in the Catholic Church. This is largely down to Pope Francis. He sped the process up as he was keen to make Mother Teresa a saint in the Church's current Year of Mercy.

Teresa moved to India in 1929, aged 19. She achieved worldwide praise for her work in the Calcutta slums where she founded Missionaries of Charity to help the destitute and dying.

However her canonisation is not without controversy. A number of critics accused her of promoting hardline Catholicism and said she mixed with dictators as well as accepting funds from them. Others have said she cared more about converting people to Christianity than caring for the poor.