Pope Francis announced on Tuesday that Mother Teresa, known as the “saint of the gutter,” will become a saint on Sept. 4, 2016. Six years following her death, she was beatified in 2003 by Pope John Paul II after the Vatican said a first miracle was attributed to her. She reportedly answered the prayers of an Indian woman to cure her brain tumor.

The Catholic Church says one miracle is required for beatification, whereas two are needed for sainthood. According to the Vatican, Francis recognized Mother Teresa’s “miraculous healing” of a Brazilian man suffering from multiple brain abscesses before officially clearing her for sainthood on Dec. 17, 2015.

Mother Teresa at the home for the Dying, in Calcutta, India, 1980. Credit: ABC News

At age 87, she died on Sept. 5, 1997, in Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, where she spent decades working for the sake of the poor in eastern India. Pope John Paul II quickly put her on the fast track toward canonization. Without his dispensation, five years should have passed from the time of her death before a bishop could be put in charge of her initial life’s examination. However, Mother Teresa’s examination began almost immediately after she passed away, according to the Vatican.

Some say Mother Teresa was a ‘Hell’s Angel’

Secularly named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, she is known for her profound love for the poor who were abandoned and marginalized. Mother Teresa earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, among other international honors.

Nevertheless, her canonization will occur after controversial facts about her life have come to light since 1994, when author Christopher Hitchens released a documentary named Hell’s Angel. He investigated Mother Teresa’s life and relationships and questioned her saintly image, claiming that she urged the poor to peacefully accept their suffering and referred to the rich as favored by God.

A paper published in the journal Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses reveals that the divine image of the Albanian nun was not consistent with the real facts of her work and states that her fame was actually constructed by white, empowered elites.

Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard of the University of Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education analyzed the published writings of Mother Teresa. The paper suggests that her beatification was built by a highly effective media relations campaign.

The three researchers collected documents on her life and work. They consulted 96% of the literature on Mother Teresa, who founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC). As a result, they found a large number of problems the Vatican did not take into account in her beatification process, including “her rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received.”

By the time of her death, the nearly saint nun had opened 517 missions known as “homes for the dying” in more than 100 countries to help the poor and sick. The paper states that doctors observed an alarming lack of hygiene, overall precarious conditions, inadequate food and no painkillers. The researchers wrote that all this occurred even though her foundation had raised a significant amount of money, noting that the problem was her particular view regarding suffering and death.

“There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,” she said, as quoted by author Christopher Hitchens.

However, she received palliative care in a modern American hospital. Still, Mother Teresa will become a saint regardless of criticism.

Source: USA Today