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Weekend of events for Mother Teresa canonisation

Mother Teresa pictured in 1993 in Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell
Brendan Hughes

A MOTHER Teresa musical and a feast for the poor are among events taking place in Rome to celebrate the Catholic nun being made a saint.

Her canonisation will take place on Sunday, with Pope Francis leading a Mass at St Peter's Square that is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.

It will be the centrepiece of a week of events beginning today to celebrate the life of Mother Teresa, who spent time in west Belfast at the start of the Troubles.

Events marking her canonisation are also expected to be held in parishes across Ireland.

In west Belfast there will be prayers said at a sculpture in Springhill on Sunday following Mass at Corpus Christi Church.

In Rome, a performance will take place tonight of Mother Teresa: The Musical, by Italian musician Michele Paulicelli.

The Missionaries of Charity will also provide a 'family feast' for the poor at the Santa Cecilia auditorium on the Via della Conciliazione.

Three consecutive Masses honouring Mother Teresa are scheduled for tomorrow in three languages – English, Spanish and Italian – at the Basilica of St Anastasia.

Mother Teresa's canonisation falls on the eve of the 19th anniversary of her death in 1997.

In 2003 she was beatified – the first step towards sainthood – by St John Paul II before a crowd of 300,000 in St Peter's Square.

Last year Pope Francis recognised a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the way for her to become a saint.

It involved the healing of a Brazilian man with several brain tumours in 2008, the Vatican said.

Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 26 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, Mother Teresa joined the Loreto order of nuns in 1928.

In 1946, while travelling by train from Calcutta to Darjeeling, she was inspired to found the Missionaries of Charity order.

The order was established four years later and has since opened more than 130 houses worldwide to provide comfort and care for the needy, dying, sick and "poorest of the poor".

In 1971 she came to west Belfast and was based in Ballymurphy for 18 months.

Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work with Calcutta's destitute and ill – work which continued even after she herself became sick.

She died on September 5 1997 aged 87. At the time, her Missionaries of Charity order had nearly 4,000 nuns and ran roughly 600 orphanages, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and clinics.

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