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Crowds cheer Mother Teresa beatification

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims were present in Rome's St Peter's Square last night Australian time to witness the beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Pope John Paul II, unable to personally deliver his homily for the first time due to age and illness, presided over the rite, which brings the world-famous nun close to sainthood, just six years after her death.

Indian sitar music blended with traditional hymns to celebrate the nun who spent more than 60 years attending to the sick and dying of Calcutta.

Guests included regulars from a soup kitchen in Rome run by Mother Teresa's order and the celebrations extended abroad, to Calcutta itself and Albania in recognition of Mother Teresa's Balkan roots.

Pope John Paul II so admired Mother Teresa that he waived the standard waiting period for beatification to bring forward the honour.

"Brothers and sisters, even in our days God inspires new models of sainthood," Pope John Paul told the crowd before his voice failed and aides read out his homily.

"Some impose themselves for their radicalness, like that offered by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whom today we add to the ranks of the blessed."

Many of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity nuns, standing out from the crowd in their blue-trimmed white saris, wiped away tears, as the crowd cheered.

Among those attending Sunday's ceremony was Monica Besra, a young Indian woman who claimed in 1998 that her large stomach tumour vanished after praying to Mother Teresa.

The ceremony in Rome was the second huge gathering in a week in St Peter's Square which was also the scene of the Pope's 25th anniversary celebrations.

In Calcutta and across India, hundreds of thousands of people watched the beatification ceremony live on television, some of them inmates of leprosy centres or orphanages run by the Missionaries of Charity.

In the Albanian capital Tirana, more than 2,000 people held a "people's marathon" to honour Mother Teresa, who was born to Albanian parents in what is now Macedonia.


Archbishop Hails Pope's Silver Jubilee (The Scotsman)
Saint or celebrity? Cult of Mother Teresa faces tough questions (Independent)
Pope to beatify Mother Teresa (The Age)
Why Mother Teresa lives on (Inquirer)
Saint in our time - or ahead of hers? (Edmonton Journal)
Pilgrims flock to Rome for Mother Teresa beatification (AFP)
Many consider Mother Teresa a saint, but some doubt miracle (The Oregonian)
Is Mother Teresa ready to become a saint so soon? (Vancouver Sun)
Mother Teresa 'almost a saint' (AAP/Daily Telegraph)
Pope beatifies Mother Teresa (Reuters)
Pope declares Mother Teresa blessed (Reuters)
Pope beatifies Mother Teresa (CNN)
First step to making Mother Teresa a saint (ITV)
Mother Teresa Beatified in Vatican Ceremony (The Scotsman)
Pope declares Mother Teresa blessed (Reuters)
Mother Teresa beatified in Vatican ceremony (Irish Examiner)
India: Pope declares Mother Teresa blessed (
Pope to beatify nun known as 'Mother' (Boston Globe)
Pope blesses Mother Teresa (The Age)
Mother Teresa Touched Lives of the Poor (AP)
Crowd Floods Mother Teresa Beatification (AP)
Blessed Mother Teresa one step from sainthood (SMH/Boston Globe/Reuters)
Pope Beatifies Mother Theresa, Testing His Strength (Bloomberg)
Tens of thousands, rich and poor, flock to beatification of Mother Teresa (Associated Press)
Mother Teresa: Last Interview before Death by Rogationist (Vidimus Dominum)
Mission: Mother Teresa: Dialog is Central, Essential (Vidimus Dominum)
India honours Mother Teresa (The Tablet)
Saint or celebrity? Cult of Mother Teresa faces tough questions (Independent)
Mother Teresa (Independent Catholic News)
Children taken in by Mother Teresa attend beatification in Rome (Catholic News Service)

20 Oct 2003