Keller couple witnesses St. Teresa's canonization

Joanne and Michael Martinez were in Rome when Mother Teresa became a saint. Alisha Laventure has more.

Catholics in North Texas are celebrating after Pope Francis officially declared Mother Teresa "Saint Teresa of Kolkata" in Vatican City Sunday morning.

Joanne and Michael Martinez journeyed from Keller to Rome for what was initially supposed to be Joanne's 40th birthday celebration. When she learned Mother Teresa's canonization ceremony was taking place the same weekend, she and her husband said they had to be in Italy for the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"I was actually moved to tears," Joanne said via Facebook chat while sitting at an restaurant in Rome. "It's one of those bucket list items that you put on there, hop[ing] it would happen - and it actually did."

The Martinezes were among tens of thousands of people who gathered at Saint Peter's Square for the ceremony.

Back in North Texas, the local Catholic community is celebrating Mother Teresa's sainthood as well.

"Such a beautiful thing - for a woman to be a saint," said Jennifer Cano, a volunteer at Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas.

Cano recalls the Albanian nun feeding the hungry and comforting the sick when she was just a child. Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity religious order in 1950, for which she earned her a Nobel Peace Prize. The order now has nearly 5,000 members.

"Given that she is within my century and I know what she's been able to do, I think it makes it more personal," Cano said of the canonization.

The ceremony occurred one day before the 19th anniversary of Mother Teresa's death, which is extremely fast by church standards. She is credited with two miracles - a prerequisite to be considered for sainthood.

"She was a blessed woman and she deserves to be blessed," Pete Mares said as he was leaving mass Sunday morning. He says he read about Mother Teresa's piety while he was incarcerated.

"If there was more women like that, more people like that, the world would be a better place."

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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