VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Mother Teresa of Calcutta's elevation to sainthood has been set for September 2016, according to a top Catholic cleric.
Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella was quoted by Italian media Tuesday as telling municipal officials in Rome that Pope Francis would canonise the nun celebrated for her work with the poor of Calcutta as part of the upcoming Jubilee Year declared by the pontiff.
A Vatican spokesman said however the canonisation had not yet been approved and it was "premature to talk of this date having already been fixed."
A celebration of the memory of Teresa has been scheduled for September 5, 2016 as part of the Jubilee programme of events. Fisichella said she would be canonised the day before, on September 4.
A canonisation would take planning, as more than 300,000 pilgrims came to Rome for Teresa's beatification ceremony in 2003. Beatification is a first step towards sainthood.
Known across the world for her charity work, Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work with the poor, sick, old and lonely in the slums of the Calcutta, one of India's biggest cities, now known as Kolkata.
But she has been accused by critics of trying to foist Catholicism on the vulnerable, with Australian feminist and academic Germaine Greer calling her a "religious imperialist".