Now it's on the calendar. The "saint of the gutters" will, on Sept. 4 -- the eve of the anniversary of her death in 1997 -- become a Catholic saint. The tiny nun who millions hailed as "a living saint" will officially become St. Mother Teresa.
Obviously, this announcement by the pope required journalists to describe the somewhat complicated process that led to this moment. Thus, this assignment -- trigger warning! -- required descriptions of complicated doctrinal concepts such as "prayers" and "miracles."
The key word you are looking for, as you scan the mainstream media coverage, is "intercede."
However, if you want to see a perfect example of HOW NOT to describe this process, note this passage from USA Today:
She was beatified in 2003 by Pope John Paul II after being attributed to a first miracle, answering an Indian woman's prayers to cure her brain tumor, according to the Vatican. One miracle is needed for beatification -- described by the Catholic Church as recognition of a person's entrance into heaven -- while sainthood requires two.
Francis officially cleared Mother Teresa for sainthood on Dec. 17, 2015, recognizing her "miraculous healing" of a Brazilian man with multiple brain abscesses, the Vatican said.
Note that we are dealing with paraphrased quotes. Did an official at the Vatican actually say that Mother Teresa, on her own, "healed" these two people? Or did the Vatican say that they were healed by God after believers asked Mother Teresa to pray for them, to "intercede" with God on their behalf?
Here is the key doctrinal fact that journalists need to grasp in order to get this story right: Saints pray. God heals.