Mother Teresa named co-patron saint of India's Kolkata

Nuns pray at the tomb of Mother Teresa in Kolkata, Sept 5, 2017.
Nuns pray at the tomb of Mother Teresa in Kolkata, Sept 5, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

KOLKATA (AFP) - Mother Teresa, who was proclaimed a saint by Pope Francis last September, was declared the co-patron saint of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Calcutta in eastern India's Kolkata on Wednesday (Sept 6).

The vicar-general of the archdiocese, Dominique Gomes, read out the decree at a special mass a day after the twentieth anniversary of her death.

"This is the first time in nearly a century-and-a-half that the Archdiocese of Calcutta got a new patron saint," Archbishop Thomas D'Souza told AFP.

"Saint Teresa of Calcutta is very special because she lived and worked in this city," he added.

Her fellow patron of the archdiocese is St Francis Xavier, who has held the position since 1876.


Teresa spent all her adult life in India, first teaching, then tending to the dying and poor for decades before her death in 1997.

Born to Kosovan Albanian parents in Skopje - then part of the Ottoman empire, now the capital of Macedonia - she won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize and was revered around the world as a beacon for the Christian values of self-sacrifice and charity.

But she was also regarded with scorn by secular critics who accused her of being more concerned with evangelism than with improving the lot of the poor.

The debate over Teresa's legacy has continued after her death, with researchers uncovering financial irregularities in the running of her order and evidence mounting of patient neglect, insalubrious conditions and questionable conversions of the vulnerable in her missions.