Canonisation of St Teresa of Calcutta

Home > News and Events > 2016 > Canonisation of St Teresa of Calcutta

16 November 2016

The Canonisation of St Teresa of Calcutta took place in St Peter’s Square, Vatican City, on Sunday 4 September 2016. Over 100,000 people from all over theJulia, Student of Holy Rosary School in Kensington, and brother Mark with Missionairies of Chairity. world travelled to share in the day that made Mother a Saint. The Cuni family was lucky enough to be present that day, with daughter Julia, seven years old and a student at Corpus Christi School, Kingsville, offered a special role in the ceremony. Julia’s mother, Tina, reflects on the trip.  

Whenever our family relationship to Mother Teresa is mentioned, the automatic response from most people is to question its truth, often with a tone of underlying sarcasm. Surely, someone that close to God could only have heavenly connections.

‘How do you know Mother Teresa?’ Julia was asked on our arrival in Rome.

‘She is my dad’s third cousin and my fourth cousin,’ Julia proudly announced.

‘How does it feel to be part of this special celebration?’

‘I am very lucky.’ Julia replied sheepishly. Whether or not she fully understood the magnitude of what she was a part of at seven years old is yet to be seen.

This was to be a pilgrimage for our family, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. When Julia was asked by Missionaries of Charity if she would be willing to take part in the procession to present Mother’s relic to the altar, our once-in-a-lifetime experience became a once-in-an-eternity experience.

Julia became nervous when she saw how vast St Peter’s Square was and how many people were there. Talking her out of her nerves was easier thanJulia Cuni at Vatican City expected.

‘It’s just like when we do the offertory at church, Julia, just with more people watching,’ her brother, Mark, explained. Feeling calmer and confident, and now filled with excitement, Julia performed her duties beautifully.

It was the perfect start to our pilgrimage. Sharing in this sacred moment in our family’s history allowed us to communicate with God and each other more openly. Our journey to Rome was not a just a family holiday, but the opportunity to develop our faith and trust in God. The prayers we shared with Christ and Saint Teresa as we travelled from city to city, asking for protection and care, were answered. It was heart-warming to hear our children say things like, ‘Mum, I prayed that we would make it safely to our next city.’ Or ‘Dad, I hope God hears my prayers for the people in the earthquake.’ Not just a holiday but a journey of faith.

So what were the thoughts of our seven-year-old after she took part in this historical moment? How did she feel after it was all over?

‘I felt happy because Mother Teresa became a saint. Everyone who becomes a saint needs to be canonised at the Vatican. It means that she is with God and Jesus in heaven. I was looking forward to the job because I thought it would be a special day for Mother Teresa and me. It was fun being on TV too.’

This article appeared in the Term 4, 2016, edition of Catholic Education Today.