GALLERY: St. Teresa of Calcutta celebrated at canonization events

Mother Teresa is at last St. Teresa of Calcutta. On Aug. 26, the Missionaries of Charity held a special novena in honor of their founder’s impending canonization, and this past weekend, they invited Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and Cardinal J. Francis Stafford to celebrate two special Masses for St. Teresa. Denver Catholic was there to capture these special occasions.

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 26: Missionaries of Charity pray during the first day of a nine-day Novena for Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta at the Gift of Mary Shelter on August 26, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

The local Missionaries of Charity invited the faithful to pray a nine-day Novena for Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta at the Gift of Mary Shelter on Aug. 26. Father Dennis Brown O.M.V., led the novena prayer. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 26: Missionaries of Charity pray during the first day of a nine-day Novena for Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta at the Gift of Mary Shelter on August 26, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

Father Dennis Brown, O.M.V., holds up the Blessed Sacrament during the novena for Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 5: Cardinal James Stafford holds a relic of St. Teresa of Calcutta during a Mass celebrating her feast day at St. Joseph's Parish on September 5, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

Cardinal James Stafford holds a relic of St. Teresa of Calcutta during a Mass celebrating her feast day at St. Joseph’s Parish on Sept. 5 in Denver. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 5: Cardinal James Stafford (L) celebrates Mass as Deacon Robert Rinne (R) looks on during the feast day of St. Teresa of Calcutta at St. Joseph's Parish on September 5, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

Cardinal James Stafford (L) celebrates Mass as Deacon Robert Rinne (R) assists during the feast day Mass of St. Teresa of Calcutta. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 5: Cardinal James Stafford preaches during a Mass celebrating the feast day of St. Teresa of Calcutta at St. Joseph's Parish on September 5, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

Cardinal James Stafford preaches during the Mass celebrating the feast day of St. Teresa of Calcutta. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 4: Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila (L) blesses a statue of St. Teresa of Calcutta with holy water as seminarian Ryan Kent (R) looks at a reception following a Mass celebrating her canonization at St. Joseph's Parish on September 4, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila (L) blesses a statue of St. Teresa of Calcutta with holy water as seminarian Ryan Kent (R) assists at a reception following the Mass celebrating her canonization at St. Joseph’s Parish on Sept 4. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 4: Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila looks toward a relic and portrait of St. Teresa of Calcutta at a Mass celebrating her canonization at St. Joseph's Parish on September 4, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

Archbishop Aquila looks toward a relic and portrait of St. Teresa of Calcutta at the Mass celebrating her canonization Sept. 4. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 4: From left, Sister Chandrika, Sister Gregorina, Sister Damascene speak with Cardinal James Stafford before a Mass celebrating the canonization of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta at St. Joseph's Parish on September 4, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

From left, Sister Chandrika, Sister Gregorina, Sister Damascene speak with Cardinal J. Francis Stafford before St. Mother Teresa’s canonization Mass Sept. 4. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 4: Sister Damascene reads the prayers of the faithful during a Mass celebrating the canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta at St. Joseph's Parish on September 4, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

Sister Damascene of the Missionaries of Charity read the prayers of the faithful during the Mass celebrating the canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 4: Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila delivers a homily during a Mass celebrating the canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta at St. Joseph's Parish on September 4, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

Archbishop Aquila delivers a homily during a Mass celebrating the canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta Sept. 4. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 5: Cardinal James Stafford (R) cuts the cake with Sister Damascene (L) after a Mass celebrating the feast day of St. Teresa of Calcutta at St. Joseph's Parish on September 5, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

Cardinal James Stafford (R) cuts the cake with Sister Damascene (L) after a Mass celebrating the feast day of St. Teresa of Calcutta at St. Joseph’s Parish on Sept. 5. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

COMING UP: Little woman, giant spirit

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Little woman, giant spirit

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta enters sainthood

The woman stood at a mere five foot zero, but her mountainous faith towered high above those she encountered.

“She was diminutive in physical stature, she was a giant in her firmness and her vision of life,” Cardinal J. Francis Stafford recalled.

Cardinal Stafford served as archbishop of Denver during Mother Teresa’s historic visit to Denver in 1989, when she announced that her Missionaries of Charity would bless the Mile High City with their presence.

Following her presentation at McNichols Arena, Mother Teresa, Cardinal Stafford and several others ate lunch together prior to going to look at possible convents for the Missionaries of Charity.

She was diminutive in physical stature, she was a giant in her firmness and her vision of life.”

“After lunch, we were moving from the table, and we had to pass across a crucifix. [Mother Teresa] was ahead of me as she was leaving, and she stopped and looked at the cross with the body of Christ upon it,” Cardinal Stafford recounted. “She gazed at it for several minutes in silence. We waited with her, respected her desire to contemplate the cross of Christ, and suddenly she said in Latin, ‘sitio’ — ‘I thirst.’ And she just left.”

This is the kind of woman Mother Teresa was. She was one with Christ in her own thirst for holiness; a thirst that will declare this beloved woman a saint on Sept. 4.

Ablaze in the dark

In her autobiography, Mother Teresa spoke of darkness. She was consumed by a darkness that permeated her mind and her heart. “I feel so much pain and torture that I cannot explain,” she wrote. Having spent her life serving the poor, sick and dying in Calcutta, it’s not difficult for one to imagine the sorrow Mother Teresa must have felt.

“In some way, I think the sitio is an explanation of that darkness,” Cardinal Stafford said. “It was not only the thirst of Christ, it was her oneness with the thirst of Christ in the midst of his suffering on Calvary. She became one with that abandonment that Christ spoke of.”

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Blessed Mother Teresa and Cardinal Stafford at McNichols Arena, May 20, 1989. (File photo by James Baca)

Despite the darkness she herself lived in, Mother Teresa was an intense ray of light in a world that so desperately needed it. It was her holy simplicity that set her apart, her raw courage that enabled her to do what she did, and her utter dependence on God that gave her the strength to do so.

“In Mother Teresa’s life, we see this complexity that emerges from this holy simplicity,” Cardinal Stafford said. “She was absolutely dependent on God, even in the midst of this terrible darkness that could have been enervating to her, but wasn’t. It was energizing, rather than enervating.”

Saint Teresa of Calcutta

And now, at last, Mother Teresa of Calcutta will become Saint Teresa of Calcutta on Sept. 4. As with the many saints who have come before her, she serves as an example of holiness for the faithful to follow, not only as someone who experienced the absence of God in her life, but found joy in the midst of it.

Mother Teresa has told us that he absence of God is really God’s presence to us. The absence of God indicates his presence to us, and Mother Teresa understood that in spades.”

“For contemporary men and women who sense the absence of God in their life, it’s very important for us to reflect upon the immense courage and the unfolding of the meaning of faith in the life of a human being as it was described by Blessed Teresa,” Cardinal Stafford commented. “Mother Teresa has told us that the absence of God is really God’s presence to us. The absence of God indicates his presence to us, and Mother Teresa understood that in spades.

“Mother Church has given us Teresa of Calcutta now. A woman who lived in darkness, but lived in that darkness with the light of faith — that dark ray of light that suddenly illumines the darkness with a wisdom and knowledge that only those who have faith understand and see. She’s model for us, not simply for the darkness, but for the joy.”

The Holy Communion of Saints warmly welcomes Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Saint Teresa, pray for us.