KOLKATA – As the Vatican prepares to declare Mother Teresa a saint today, in the Indian city where she rose to fame, claims of medical negligence and financial mismanagement at her care homes threaten to cloud her legacy.
Pope Francis approved the canonization of the widely beloved Roman Catholic nun last December, nearly two decades after she died in Kolkata, in whose teeming slums she devoted her life to helping the destitute and the sick.
Yet criticisms of the soon-to-be St. Teresa of Kolkata abound, with doctors and former volunteers recounting grim tales of poor sanitation, medical neglect, and forced conversions of the dying. Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu to Albanian parents in what is now Macedonia, her Missionaries of Charity homes for the dying earned her a Nobel Peace Prize and the sobriquet Saint of the Gutters.
“We feel that Mother Teresa’s elevation to sainthood would be a renewed thrust to (her) charitable works,” Thomas D’Souza, the Archbishop of Kolkata, told AFP.
Like millions of Catholics worldwide, Gautam Lewis is excited to celebrate the canonization of the woman he calls his “second mother,” who rescued the orphan after he was struck with polio aged two. (AFP)