Mother Teresa: Miracles, Canonization & Awards

Instructor: Matt Lamb

Matt has tutored for six years now, in a variety of subjects including reading, essay writing, chemistry, and theology. He is finishing his M.A. in Political Science this August.

In this lesson you will learn about the miracles, canonization, and awards of Mother Theresa. A lifelong advocate for the poor, Mother Teresa is now known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta after her canonization in 2016.

Life On Earth

Mother Teresa performed many great works during her time on this Earth. For her efforts, she won many different awards. However, what ultimately ended up being her greatest reward for her work came after her death, in the form of her canonization and becoming St. Teresa of Calcutta. We begin with a discussion of her awards.


Numerous organizations and countries awarded Mother Teresa awards throughout her life, often for her work with the poor or her work to promote peace. In total, she received at least 124 awards, including many of the most prestigious and well-known awards. They include the Nobel Peace Prize (1979), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1985), and the Congressional Gold Medal (1997).

Mother Teresa receiving an award from President Reagan
Reagans and Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa's First Miracle

Providing basic education to the illiterate, clothing poor children in India, and bathing the homeless and indigent; this type of work is not glamorous, but it's the exact type of work that a saint performs.

In 1998, the Missionaries of Charity witnessed the first miracle needed for beatification. Monica Besra, a woman with a large tumor was brought under the sisters' care in India. A religious medal which Mother Teresa had touched, was laid on the woman's stomach overnight. The next morning, the nuns found the tumor had disappeared. Because the tumor was so large that doctors had given up any hope of even removing it, it was considered a miracle. The tumor was supposedly incurable. In December 2002 Pope John Paul II declared it a miracle, after the special medical investigators hired by the Vatican determined there was no medical explanation for the tumor disappearing. Now, she needed just one more miracle to become a saint.

Mother Teresa's Second Miracle

In 2008, doctors diagnosed a Brazilian man, Marcilio Andrino, with a bacterial infection in his brain. The man quickly fell into a coma, during which time his wife, Fernanda Rocha, prayed to Mother Teresa for an intercession. An intercession is when a person in heaven acts to help someone on Earth. Just before surgery the man awoke and was healed. However, this story did not come to light until 2015. Why? Because the surgeon did not say anything until 2013 when Pope Francis visited Brazil and the surgeon, who was not Catholic, told a Catholic priest what happened. This ended with an investigation into whether or not there were other medical explanations for what happened. Ultimately, the investigators concluded it must have been a miracle.

A visit to Brazil by Pope Francis in 2013 prompted a surgeon to tell of the miracle he witnessed
Pope Francis in Brazil in 2013

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