External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit Italy on September 4 to attend the canonisation ceremony of Nobel Laureate Mother Teresa, who founded the Missionaries of Charity. Swaraj will lead the Indian delegation in Rome, External Affairs Minister Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Thursday. The rest of the delegation is yet to be finalised. Canonisation is the Vatican’s process for declaring a person with remarkable qualities a saint after they have died.
Pope Francis made the official announcement on Mother Teresa’s canonisation in March. She died in 1997 at 87 after working especially with the poor, many of them in Kolkata's slums. She was the best known of the five people who will be declared saints in September.
According to PTI, there are murmurs that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will also attend the event in Rome. Kejriwal once worked for Missionaries of Charity himself. However, this has not been confirmed.
Some are seeing this as a positive diplomatic step, given India and Italy’s tense relationship over the arrest of two Italian marines in 2012. Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre had been arrested by the Indian government on the charges of killing two Indian fishermen. The two countries have been locked in a furious disagreement ever since.