Days before Mother Teresa is canonized, nuns working in order she founded are beaten, gagged

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Barely a week before its founder, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, is to be canonized by Pope Francis in Rome, three thugs entered a Missionaries of Charity convent in Mar del Plata, Argentina, and beat and gagged five nuns.

Police said the men restrained the nuns so they could not cry for help while they ransacked every corner of the house, which provides free care for terminally ill HIV and AIDS patients. The men made off with the equivalent of about US$3, the only cash the nuns had at the time.

In a search for gold, the men opened the tabernacle and emptied out the area holding consecrated Holy Communion hosts. When they realized they were made of flimsy metal, the thieves left them behind.

The mission was founded by Mother Teresa, who is set to be canonized by Pope Francis on Sunday.

The community, Queen of Peace Home, was founded 20 years ago in Mar del Plata, a fishing port and seaside resort town in the Southeast region of Buenos Aires.

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Mother Teresa founded her Missionaries of Charity in 1950. Today it’s comprised of more than 4,500 religious sisters. The nuns have taken a vow of chastity, obedience, poverty and a promise to help the poor.

The order has 19 homes in Calcutta, and several others globally, providing AIDS care, refugee support, homes for people suffering from leprosy, and other humanitarian work.

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia in 1910. She entered the convent in Dublin, Ireland in 1928, taking the name Teresa, after the patron Saint Therese of Lisieux.

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