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Leaving aside the papal definition of a Saint, I believe anyone who has a heart as compassionate as Mother Teresa had, is saintly.

There are critics who are questioning the saintliness of Mother Teresa, and criticizing the quality of care at her facilities. It is so easy to find faults in anyone and anything, but the stark reality is that it is so difficult to do, and to do it right.

We have to look at situations in the context of the environment ... yes, the hygiene and methods at the caring facilities can be and should be improved, but we cannot go from the West and expect western "care standards" to be practiced in the impoverished areas, where, for many, it is a boon to be even able to get a helping hand, let alone lasting compassion. Then also, are these good people doing more good than harm? Is their motive of conversion of faith, or is their faith guiding their goodness? Let each of us, including me, ask, compared to them, how little good have I done in my life?

Again, about the quality of hygiene, unfortunately a whole lot of medical facilities, private and government, in the poor areas of the world are operating at less than acceptable standards. And therefore, it would be wrong to single out and fault Mother Teresa's organization.

The charitable hospitals where I cared for the patients during my visits to India in 2006 and 2015, they all lacked good patient-care standards, but I was always relieved to see the patients leave with a strong feeling of gratitude, rather some had reverence for the facility, for being able to receive a change of bandage from the bloody-infected sores, even the sight of which is hard for many people to tolerate. 

Yes, many employees at these 'care facilities' have not received adequate training, but the doctors certainly have received training regarding good standards, and even they are willing to accept and work in the sub-standard conditions of patient care, for it is better for the patients to get some care than no care at all. Further, it is actually true, that many of these poor people will, otherwise, have no care at all and perhaps die. The standards of the facilities do need to be brought up, and to a large extent this would be possible via governance by governments, i.e. establishing  guidelines, imposing them and honestly monitoring the minimum standards of care.

Yes, for the amount of good she has done, for the heart she has poured out,  Mother Teresa has been saintly, and her life is saintly.

As for the critics, in this case, let each critic go and care personally for just one person who is aching and dying from unsightly bleeding sores, and feel grateful that the poor and the needy gave him/her an opportunity to serve.

-- Vijay Nikore

(original and unpublished)

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