ROME — Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, also known as “Mother Teresa,” will be sainted next year as she is being credited with the purported healing of two people through what Roman Catholics believe is her intercession after her death, the Vatican announced on Friday.
Jorge Bergoglio, also known as “Pope Francis,” approved a decree on Thursday that Bojaxhiu was responsible for a second miracle 11 years after she died.
The situation involved a Brazilian man who contracted a viral infection in 2008 and slipped into a coma after developing brain abscesses.
“The patient’s wife continuously sought the intercession of the Blessed Mother Teresa for her husband,” explained Brian Kolodiejchiuk, who had called for Bojaxhiu’s cannonization, in a statement.
When the man was wheeled into an operating room, the arriving surgeon found him awake and asking, “What am I doing here?” He recovered, and despite being told that he would never be able to have children, his wife conceived.
The first miracle the Vatican attributed to Bojaxhiu was the healing of a cancerous tumor suffered by an Indian woman in 2003.
“[P]eople have sought her help and have experienced God’s love for them through her prayers,” Missionaries of Charity said in a statement following the declaration. “Every day, pilgrims from India and around the world come to pray at her tomb…”
In the Roman Catholic religion, in order for a person to be sainted, they must be credited with bringing about two miracles after their death through their intercession, with the exception of just one miracle for those who are martyred for their faith.
“The Holy Father has authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to proclaim the decree concerning the miracle attributed to the intercession of blessed Mother Teresa,” the Vatican announced in a statement.
Bojaxhiu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work among the poor. She is known for her humanitarianism on the streets of Calcutta, India in founding the Missionaries of Charity.
“Mother Teresa” died in 1997 at the age of 87, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II. Beatification is “a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person’s entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name.”
However, Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries in Plano, Texas, told Christian News Network that the concept that one can be responsible for a miracle after their death is unbiblical, as well as the notion that the dead can intercede for the living.
“According to Scripture, a miracle originates from God and He performs them to arouse people’s awe and wonder and to bear witness of Himself. The miracles God performs cannot usually be explained by natural causes,” he explained. “When we study miracles in the Bible we see that they consistently point people to the one true God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Miracles supposedly done through the intercession of dead Catholics do not meet these biblical principles,” Gendron continued. “They do not glorify God or point people to Christ, but instead bring glory to the dead Catholic ‘saint’ and point people away from Christ as the only mediator between God and man.”
The former Roman Catholic-turned-evangelist also noted that the practice of a theological leader “sainting” certain individuals does not line up with Scripture.
“God is the only one who can convert a sinner to a saint,” he said. “Saints are the ones God has sanctified or set apart in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 1:2). Of all the references to saints in the Scriptures we see they are alive both physically and spiritually.”
In regard to Bojaxhiu being honored by the Vatican, Gendron said that the selection is wrongful as she did not believe in evangelizing those of other religions, but rather had a Universalist mindset.
“[H]er theology embraced a works-righteousness salvation and she saw no need to evangelize. She encouraged Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists to be better Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists,” he said. “She never pointed people to Christ as the only savior, mediator and redeemer. Instead she taught a bizarre ‘pseudo-pantheism’ in which she believed Jesus was present in everyone.”
In her book “Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations and Prayers,” Boxjaxhiu wrote, “We never try to convert those who receive [aid from Missionaries of Charity] to Christianity, but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence, and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this, better men — simply better — we will be satisfied.”
“It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search, then this is his way to salvation,” she stated.