Pope Francis Proclaims Mother Teresa a Catholic Saint

Teresa of Calcutta – the 'saint of the gutters' - officially elevated to join the Church's more than 10,000 saints.

A tapestry depicting Mother Teresa of Calcutta is seen in the facade of Saint Peter's Basilica during a mass, celebrated by Pope Francis, for her canonisation in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican September 4, 2016.
Stefano Rellandini, Reuters

REUTERS - Pope Francis proclaimed Mother Teresa of Calcutta a saint of the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday, 19 years after her death. 

Thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square applauded as the tiny nun known as the "saint of the gutters" in her lifetime was officially elevated to join the Church's more than 10,000 saints. 

Mother Teresa's milestones: A timeline from the life of a Saint

Francis's predecessor Pope John Paul II bent Vatican rules to fast-track Mother Teresa to sainthood - a process which usually does not start until five years after the candidate's death - two years after she died in 1997. 

The nun, who died at the age of 87, became an international icon but has also been criticised for trying to convert people to Christianity.

Beatification requires one miracle and is the last step before sainthood, which requires a second.

The church defines saints as those believed to have been holy enough during their lives to now be in Heaven with God.

Francis, who has made concern for the poor a major plank of his papacy, was keen to make Mother Teresa a saint during the church's current Holy Year.

Church officials say Mother Teresa's second miracle involved the healing of a Brazilian man suffering from a viral brain infection that resulted in multiple abscesses with hydrocephalus.