Mother Teresa – A Saint Once Again?

Mother Teresa of Calcutta
photo courtesy of India7 Network

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910 – 1997) will be canonized as a saint on September 4th, 2016.

From comments and email, it’s clear that many Mandela Effect readers recall Mother Teresa (also remembered as Mother Theresa) being declared a saint prior to 2016.

  • Some recall her being named a saint in the 1990s.
  • Some are sure she was given sainthood while alive.
  • Some specifically reference Pope John Paul II as the pope who approved the canonization.

It’s important to note some landmark recognitions during Mother Teresa’s life and in the years since her death.

  • In 1962, she was given the Philippines-based Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding.
  • In 1969, she was featured in the film, Something Beautiful for God.
  • In 1971, Paul VI awarded her the first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize.
  • In 1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • In 1980, she received India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.
  • After her 1997 death, Pope John Paul II waived the usual five-year wait and began the beatification process.
  • In 2002, the Vatican recognized the first of two required miracles leading to Mother Teresa’s canonization.
  • In 2003, she was officially beatified.
  • In 2015, the Vatican recognized the second of the two required miracles.
  • According to the Vatican, her canonization will take place September 4th, 2016.

If you recall a reality in which she was named a saint (canonized) earlier than 2016, I hope you’ll share those memories in comments,* below.  I’m particularly interested in the context of your memories. That is, where you were, which spelling (Teresa or Theresa) you recall, whether you read about her sainthood in a book, heard about it in class, learned about it from a news report or online, and so on.

*On most articles at this site, comments remain open for 45 days.

42 thoughts on “Mother Teresa – A Saint Once Again?”

  1. [Moved from the DiCaprio comment thread.]

    I haven’t posted on here in a while and can’t find the general comments sections that used to be numbered. Hopefully Someone else noticed this: mother Teresa had her sainthood announced to be commenced on September 4th of this year. I haven’t had a “wait…. What?” Moment like that in a while. I distinctly recall pope John Paul II granting her sainthood in the 90s. Now she didn’t get beatified until 2003, and isn’t even a saint! This was a huge deal. Her sainthood was a huge deal. I’m so confused! Anyway, I hope more people remember this.

    1. [Edited and moved from the DiCaprio comment thread]


      Ordinarily, I wouldn’t approve this comment since it’s in a DiCaprio thread. However, to answer this — for you and anyone else mystified by what’s changed here in recent months — you can catch up at the Site News page. (Scroll down to the 20 Jan 2016 section, which is when I changed the Memories/Comments pages. The full, numbered Comments section is linked from the Memories page, as always. However, the general comments had become impossibly disorganized, and I closed them to new additions.)

      Sincerely, Fiona

      1. . Too young to remember her spelling how ever i was in catholic school at the time so her sainthood was a really big deal. This one is throwing me for a real loop. Really questing the ground i stand on looking at this .. maddening. I learned from class because at that time i was a devout catholic. As others have said it was a really huge deal when she was declared a saint and still alive. It was outside every law of sainthood . I feel like im going to wake up 2marrow and see a news report saying JFK just died of old age. This one is very reality fracturing. As I have said before don’t just trust your memories trust your stomach, memories can deceive but gut instincts are rarely wrong

    2. Dan,

      It was more than a big deal because mother Theresa turned into saint Theresa when she was still alive. It was huge that she was granted sainthood while still being alive. That was unheard of. I totally remember that. I was still in high school at the time, in the 90’s timeframe.

      When I found out she wasn’t a saint, I was like “wait what”?!?

      Also her name is spelled Teresa now, I remember it as Theresa.


      1. Note to readers: This is one of several comments that spark my interest in how people recall the name’s spellings. I’m wondering if those with the alternate memory (earlier sainthood) recall the name as Theresa more often than Teresa, or if it’s a dual memory for some, or if most people are sure it’s always been Teresa.

        1. The reason I remember her name as Theresa was because I had an older neighbor and her parents were from Europe and she claimed the hospital misspelled her name as Theresa when it was supposed to be Teresa. When I saw mother Theresa I asked if it was a typo/some type of error, because Teresa is the more common European spelling. I was told, her name was Theresa. However, I was very young when this happened. I remember talk of her becoming a saint while she was still alive, but I feel like she died before that could happen. On a side note, Teresa and Theresa were pronounced as the same way when I was child (under 10), but now I see a lot of people who claim Teresa is Tur-RAY-SA instead of Tah-RE-sa (Theresa). I know there’s the RHONJ who claim Teresa and Theresa are different names.

  2. I remember when she passed away, it was only a week after Princess Diana. I know this because I had just gotten a new TV , and was getting ready to move out of state in a few months. I also remember PJP II, waving the five year process, but I would swear she was Sainted in 1999. Too add a little my wife who doesn’t pay attention to things like this often, raised an eyebrow the other night, and asked me “didn’t she become a saint , when we lived in SD?? “. So she remembers also. Mike H.

  3. This is a great topic. Yes, the spelling of her name has changed. I know it had an h. I remember it being different. Just for fun I randomly asked my boyfriend to spell her name today and he also used the h spelling “Theresa” however he does not remember her becoming a saint.


  4. This has already happened for me- \”Mother Teresa\” a few years ago. At the time I was in Atlanta, GA and thought that it was spelled with a \”h\” but was not and still am not sure. I reckoned it to be my mind wanting to normalize the spelling into what I am use to seeing but still have not reconciled that idea.

    Also, the Portland idea seems to hit on some things again for me. Was placing a journal up on my blog but deleted because I need to edit it (extremely long). Anyways, here is snippet of what I had:

    04/29/2015 10:44pm
    Spouse asked if I have noticed a change in our youngest son over the last few weeks. and believes that he has become a little more aggressive and not quite himself. (Sounds very similar to what I have been seeing in my spouse although they do not realize it). The youngest now wants to play soccer this year instead of football.

    Almost like a change of personalities since the trip…? (Trip to Japan 04/01/2015)

    Interesting quote from my spouse which was made on 04/27/2015:
    “Fly out and arrive at a terminal, when you are getting ready to land its considered the final approach, when you are at your stop it is your final destination”. Just remembered as I was qued by the word “trip”.

    The sainting of \”Mother Teresa/Theresa\” seems to have happened after a major trip for me (either 2012,2013, or 2015- only knew of her through childhood textbooks and did not really pay too much attention to when it 1st happened. Only thoughts were that I thought there was an \”h\” and how does the pope grant sainthood when she is still alive) Perhaps the drop of the \”h\” is notice of the same entity on another dimension/timeline whether they be represented as dead or alive there…in this case dead 092016 but perhaps alive with the h for timeline 092012, 13, or 15.

    And…. I can not remember who referenced this article but it helped me so much with my current studying for test and can perhaps further shed light on what we has been discussed here.

    (Personal side note not related- sorry to not have responded to prior request- have been extremely busy with learning content and my brain has been pushed with so much information these last couple of months. Would not have been able to offer much if anything. I have not forgotten)

  5. How strange! I was reading the article, thinking to myself that it doesn’t make sense that she isn’t a saint, but I personally chalk that up to me not being super aware of the workings of the catholic church.

    However – It was definitely Mother Theresa. For whatever reason I always pronounced it in my mind in a way to remember the H, it was kinda like Teh-rees-uh. That probably doesn’t make sense but little things like that are the reason I have always been such an instinctually good speller.

    1. i dont remember if she got the saint hood before or after her death but i do remember it happening in the late 90s .
      and i remember it being theresa sounding just like you sound it out.

  6. This is just too much, She WAS sainted many years ago and I had several arguements about it!
    [Edited to remove specific controversy.] … its just proof of why I KNOW she was already beatified decades ago, not long after her death.
    What I find really interesting is that I have had a couple of very strong ME events this week in addition to this. Micheal Crawford (some mothers do av em) was on live TV which was quite a shocker! I know he died at least 10 years ago and I have even met his ex wife. Oddly this is a *fuzzy* memory which I can’t put my finger on. I know he died, I know he hasn’t been on TV since then. Now suddenly he is alive and well.
    Also (the same day, this tuesday) saw a special news report on SKY TV this week which I know I saw about 6 months ago. I know this because one of the people featured, a Brit who went to fight against ISIS lives locally and he was on the news when he came home. Everyone was wondering whether he would be arrested when he got off the plane and he wasn’t.

    1. AL, I removed the exact argument about Mother Teresa, as it’s the kind of controversy that can be problematic (and time-consuming, for me) without contributing to our understanding of the Mandela Effect.

      Also, I wouldn’t have included your Michael Crawford memory or the returning Brit one, as I’m trying to keep comments focused on the related article topic, but it’s raised a point worth checking, and I’m going to create a separate article for it.

      But, for the record, I watch Sky News daily, and I also recall an earlier, similar news report several months ago. However, since I don’t have a local connection, I’m probably recalling a story related to one or more of the approximately 400 similar returnees.

  7. Fiona,

    Thanks for moving this for me. I’ll check out the new site news section. It was definitely the 90s for me. I went to catholic school and was a avid church goer. Still try to make it when I can. Her sainthood was a major milestone to Catholics. I remember her funeral on CNN and people talking about her becoming a saint faster than anyone else. I spelt it Teresa without thinking about it, but visually see the pictures in my mind of her name on the TV screen as Theresa when I focus on the memories. This is a huge one for me, as I KNOW she has been a saint since the 90s. I feel like people keep messing with the 90s!!!

    1. Dan,

      Maybe our memories of this timeline have something to do with us being Catholics. I was going through my Catechism at the time of her sainthood. I mean everyone talked about it. Her sainthood was the biggest deal in the church at that time. It’s all I would hear about. Yes, it was in the 90s. Maybe being Catholic at the time is why the memory “stuck”? I’m not sure and could be off base. But it’s interesting for sure.

      Thanks again for creating this new topic! 🙂


  8. So I remember hearing about this in the late 90s in school (honestly I can’t remember if we were talking about it happening or that it had happened before) but anyway I was always a history geek so this enthralled me. And it has always been Mother Theresa for me as I remember this very well reading it in history books throughout the years I have always loved the spelling of her name.

  9. Hindi is a very phonetic language,Teresa was reported as much in hindi as in english and t vs th produces very different sound in hindi.In english t and th have same phonetics that is both are sounded as t ,not so in hindi.Even Thames and Thomson are frequently pronounced incorrectly,Teresa being frequently spoken of in Indian tv channels, th was never in reckoning.

  10. I can’t recall which way her name was spelt but I do remember her been given her sainthood while she was still alive, it was a huge big deal, I remember having conversations about it. I was brought up a catholic so there were discussion about when a person can become a saint and in what circumstances. And I remember thinking about how she must of felt, knowing that she is the only living person that has been canonized. And it wasn’t a passing thought, I’d ponder over it for some time.

  11. ???????!!!!!!! I remember this! Although vaguely. I was a kid I Puerto Rico but I knew that she was a saint already. Even though people still referenced her as Mother Teresa, she was ordained as a saint. As for the spelling. I have seen both, I just figured that depending whether I was in the states or in Puerto Rico the spelling would change. In the U.S. Theresa in Puerto Rico the Spanish version Teresa. But this happened already. She’s been a saint for decades now. For me at least.

  12. This is definitely a trigger memory, as in it seems to have kick started a “change wave” I’ll call it. Sandy, perhaps it’s being cathiloc, or perhaps it’s being deeply religious? I’m not sure, but I feel this sure has created an imbalance in the “ether.” Today was very off and there were errors everywhere. It was like nothing happened the way it should have today. It is almost as if time is off. As if everything is running behind. I don’t quite get it, but I feel like this Mother Theresa event started something. A new wave of change is coming.

  13. I was sure she was a saint, un fact, i remember reading about her after Monseñor Romero from El Salvador became a Saint (i am fron El Salvador). I remember reading the paper and it said something like “Monseñor Romero se une a Maria Teresa de Calcuta luego de su canonización ” and yeah, this week is Monseñor Romero’s Killing anyversary and people were talking about her becoming a saint and me and some friends were surpriced, because we all remember her being a saint.

  14. All my childhood, I thought she was a Saint. The way she was referred to, the way she was “honored” in the typical Saint fashion… Pretty sure something about healing/sickness.

    Some years ago, I was told (context-wise) she wasn’t a Saint. It felt weird, but since I’m not a member of any practicing Religion or study Religions for whatever reason, I just accepted I was ignorant in that regard; kinda forgot until I came across this again, but again, I’m not that active in thinking about these things.
    btw I still had a general awareness that she wasn’t very “Saintly” (pun intended) as she was racist, among other things lol

    As for spelling, I’ve seen both versions of her name, but I am much more certain that’s a cultural difference. It applies to most names with different or unusual spellings.

  15. 2004 here, with a Mother Teresa. I remember being confused over the spelling of her name because I’d known a Theresa previously, and didn’t know there were any other ways to spell the name.

    Even weirder, I remember her death being later than 1997. Not by much, but I just checked–Princess Diana died in 1997, and I remember my mom greeting her death with a statement like “last year Diana, this year Mother Teresa, what’s the world going to do now?” The current death dates for Diana and Teresa on Wikipedia place them less than two weeks apart–definitely NOT how it happened for me.

    1. I remember Princess Di and Mother Theresa dying in the same year, a week-ish apart. It was all that was on the news for a long time.

        1. I remember Mother Theresa dying on the day before Princess Diana did. Even the order of events is wrong in this timeline.

  16. No, her name has always been Theresa–my mother’s name is also Theresa, that’s not a thing you just forget or mix up.

  17. Fiona,

    Please take a look at this website:

    It’s a story written by a priest in 2010, to honor Mother Teresa 100 years memory. In the last paragraph he states “Mother Teresa captivated the whole world, becoming a patron saint of a difficult century.”

    I just found that interesting anyway. I understand if you don’t approve this comment, but I really thought you should see that. I know she was referred to as “saint of the gutters” but this priest actually refers to her as “patron saint” in his article. Maybe this is a glitch?


    1. Sandy, that’s interesting. (And it’s on-topic since we’re focusing on Mother Teresa and when she was canonized.)

      I’d understand if he’d just talked about her as a “saint,” meaning someone saintly, not necessarily canonized. However, to say “patron saint” is a little more extreme, and kind of startling.


  18. I’m not sure whether I remember her being a saint before now – I have a fuzzy memory of maybe? in the 2000’s, but it could be chalked up to them going through the process instead of actually canonizing.

    BUT, her name was definitely Theresa for me. My aunt’s name is Teresa, and I remember specifically that they were different, and also that I pronounced it differently to myself as a means to separate the T/Theresa.

  19. My Mother age 74. Remembers clearly her being named a saint at least 10 yrs ago. The spelling being Teresa, her mother was named after her.

  20. Sainted while still alive…one of the few if not only. It was done on purpose that way to honour her as she was still living and performing miracles. Seriously how did that happen without notice.

  21. I seem to remember watching the news on TV around 10 years ago when they announced Mother Theresa (with an h) was to become a saint, still can’t believe she isn’t yet even though I’ve read it several times !

    1. This is my recollection as well, that they announced on TV that she WOULD become a saint. However, I also remember her being sainted sometime after that initial announcement. Perhaps I’m misremembering the sequence of events as apparently in the Catholic faith, one is beatified before they are sainted; perhaps that’s what I’m remembering. However, the thing that makes me feel as if this an ME for me is that there is no possible way that she died in 1997 in my timeline. I was living in a different city and state in 1997 and much younger, just barely out of college. However, in my timeline, Mother Teresa died sometime after my son was born and he was born in 2005. For me, she died within the last 10 years, no way that it’s been 20 nearly years.

  22. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that she was sainted years ago.
    I’m a young guy who grew up in a staunchly catholic country (Ireland) and many times i heard about “Saint Mother Theresa” ,and it was Theresa not Teresa.
    As other people have said,it was a big deal because she was alive at the time.
    This phenomenon is really picking up pace!

  23. When I had my Western Civilization history class in 2003-2004, she was referred to by my teacher and in text as Mother Theresa and had been a saint already for a while.
    I still think “Teresa” looks wrong, but now “Mother Theresa” doesn’t look quite right either.

  24. I can’t believe this. I really thought she has been a saint for years? Idk if it was when she was alive or after, but I remember clearly a picture of her in my middle school (it was a christian middle school) praising her for her humanitarian work, and I remember clearly it being written she was a saint?
    Also I remember talking about her with my best friend a few months ago and we both were saying she was already sanctified? Also for me it’s mother theresa. I had religion classes in middle school, and we worked on her. I clearly remember documents and all that saying “theresa” not teresa. Teresa just feel like a typo to me…

  25. As some ppl may or may not know Pope John Paul II changed the rules and restrictions of canonization process what i remember was she was the first one made a saint after they wanted to speed the process to anoint her before she died i remember seeing her on the news visiting ppl as st theresa shortly before she died the spelling of her name i do not remember but i clearly remember her being a saint before death.

  26. I remember people calling her a saint, but she hadn’t actually been canonized before she died. It was an honor title, like “professor”.

    Shortly after she died, I remember the sainthood process being accelerated because of what she did and because they already had enough miracles for her to be a saint. Since I’m not Catholic, I didn’t pay much attention. But I thought she was already sainted before 2010.

    I also remember her dying more recently. I’m sure I read an article in 2000-2005 about her still being alive and doing whatever she did. I’m thinking 2001 or 2002.

  27. Fascinating!
    I remember Lady Diana dying a week or so apart, in 1997. I remember what an awful time it was, as my wife miscarriaged a child at the same time.

    I am CERTAIN her name was ‘Theresa’ and that she was given a sainthood not long after her sad passing.

    This Mandella effect absolutely intrigues me! Notice too, my spelling of Mandella?!

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