Queen Sofia of Spain attended the canonisation ceremony of Mother Teresa this morning in St. Peter’s Square, representing Spain on behalf of her son. The ceremony completes the process of canonisation, which was begun in 1999 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, who granted permission to begin this process without waiting five years after Mother Teresa’s death. The first stage, the ceremony of beatification took place on St. Peter’s Square on 19 October 2003 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II.
Queen Sofia was accompanied by Ana Pastor, President of the Congress of Deputies and José Manuel García-Margallo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. She was received at the airport by the ambassadors of Spain in the Italian Republic and to the Holy See, Francisco Javier Elorza and Eduardo Gutiérrez Sáenz de Buruaga.
This morning in a Solemn Mass of Canonisation the Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was canonised. Queen Sofia briefly met His Holiness Pope Francis before the ceremony in the Chapel of Mercy. She was dressed in white, in accordance with the privilege du blanc, a tradition where certain Catholic queens and princesses are permitted to wear a white dress and white veil during an audience with the Pope.
This was Queen Sofia’s 15th visit to the Holy See. She previously attended the ceremonies for the canonisations of John XXIII and John Paul II in 2014.
Queen Sofia had a good relationship with Mother Teresa, whom she met on several occasions. Mother Teresa was born as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on 26 August 1910 in Skopje, the capital of present day Macedonia. She joined the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1928. She became Sister Mary Terasa in 1937. She dedicated herself to working for the poorest of the poor and she was recognized for her work with a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She died on 5 September 1997 in Calcutta.