Mangaluru, Sep 05, 2016: On Sept 4, Sunday evening, all roads in the city seemed to lead to the unassuming monumental centre of charity, the abode of the destitute and suffering with the nuns of the new saint ’St,Teresa of Calcutta’, in their blue bordered cotton sarees, on Starrock Road, Falnir and the Milagres parish. The image of the new saint was on a decorated car by 4 pm on and a big crowd of people from all walks of life congregated.
Soon the the Bishop of Mangalore, Rev Dr. Aloysius D’Souza arrived conducted a short prayer and extolled the greatness of the new saint and her Christian fellowship. Then the people preceded the statue with song and prayer with the Bishop carrying the statue in the open car along the ’Mother Teresa Road’, to the Milagres parish church. Along the road, Mangaluru MLA J R Lobo unveiled the refurbished road sign board announcing the name and releasing a bunch of balloons into the air.
The statue of the saint was taken into the church and installed. A solemn mass concelebrated by several priests with the Bishop taking the lead followed people were devoutly displaying their love for St Teresa of Calcutta who had visited here and many were present who had seen and met her personally and interacted with her too, like Chev Clarence Pais, Rita the niece of late Celine Saldanha who donated and assist their institution here. Several recalled fondly their personal encounters and memories of the Mother. Some did also recall that the present ’Sisters of Charity power house’ here was once a premium pub called ’Lawnsway’ and many elite and visitors from abroad enjoyed many an evening; after a historic legal battle it was restored and now serves the poorest of the poor here, surely the Supreme still has his way.
The personal experiences being exhanged were really a unique and moving to hear. Personally, if I am here and writing anything here today, Mother Teresa the Saint of today, has a role in inspiring and directly intervening in my life. This I never forget each day and the many folks that care.
The world over people who did not go to the Vatican watched and were touched by the canonization mass at St. Peter’s sqaure before noon on Sunday ( 1 to 3 pm IST) it will be lasting memory of the times.
The actual words and formula of Canonization declaring Sainthood by Pope Francis : "For the honour of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian life, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother Bishops, we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a Saint and we enroll her among the Saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole Church. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". Further, on request he also passed a decree to substantiate the act.
Thus the Mother’s elevation to Roman Catholicism’s celestial pantheon came in a canonisation mass in St Peter’s square in the Vatican that was presided over by Pope Francis in the presence of about 100,000 pilgrims.
A brief sketch of St.Teresa of Kolkota’s Life :
Generations of Indians know her as a diminutive but determined woman in a blue-bordered white cotton sari who cared for the poor and destitute, Mother Teresa, who is due to become the Roman Catholic Church’s latest saint, also holds pride of place among the emissaries of compassion and service who have flourished and spread out from India, even if born elsewhere.
“By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus,” once said the Mother, who came to India in 1929 after deciding on a religious life the previous year and stayed the rest of her 87-year-long life mostly in Calcutta/Kolkata where she founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1948.
Born on August 26, 1910, in Skopje town (capital of the independent country of Macedonia now but then part of the Ottoman Empire — and then under Serb, Bulgarian and then Yugoslav rule during her early life) as Anjeze (or Agnes, more commonly) Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, she was always religiously inclined.
According to a 1988 biography (“Mother Teresa” by Joan Graff Clucas), she was fascinated by stories of missionaries serving in Bengal and, even before her teenage years, decided on a religious life. She left home in 1928 to join the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland to learn English, with a view to becoming a missionary, and never saw her mother or her sister again (her father had died in 1919).
In India, she was initially based in a convent in Darjeeling where she learnt Bengali and taught at the nearby St. Teresa’s School. As a nun, she chose to be named after Therese de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries, but because another nun there had already chosen that name, she opted for the Spanish spelling of Teresa.
Taking her solemn vows in May 1937 while a teacher (and subsequently headmistress) at the Loreto Convent in Calcutta’s Entally, she enjoyed teaching but was greatly concerned at the poverty and pain around, especially after the 1943 famine and the 1946 communal riots. It was in September 1946 that she experienced what she later termed “the call within the call” on a train from Calcutta to Darjeeling, urging that she “leave the convent and help the poor while living among them” (as recounted to Clucas).
Replacing the nun’s habit for the sari, she began missionary work with the poor in Calcutta in 1948 after taking Indian citizenship and spending a few months in Patna for basic medical training. Initially, she started a school but soon started taking care of the destitute, and was, in 1949, joined by a group of young women, which later became the Missionaries (Vatican approval was accorded in October 1950).
Though it faced initial problems, the organisation soon went from strength to strength — with her contribution recognised by both India (she was conferred the Padma Shri in 1962 and the Bharat Ratna in 1980) and the world (especially after British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge’s 1969 documentary “Something Beautiful for God”) with the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1962, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and many others.
And it was not only in India that she was active — she personally rescued three dozen children from a Beirut hospital in 1982 after arranging a temporary cease-fire between the Israeli army and Palestinian guerrillas, tended to starvation victims in Ethiopia, radiation-afflicted at Chernobyl, and earthquake victims in Armenia.
However, her health slowly started failing from 1983 when she had her first heart attack and when further complications arose in 1991, she offered to step down but her offer was declined. She finally demitted office in March 1997 after a spate of other injuries and illnesses and died on September 5 the same year.
The same year the process to canonisation started with the beatification process, the third and penultimate step before being declared a saint, and requiring a miracle to be attributed to her. Normally, the first step itself begins five years after the person’s death, but in her case, the waiting period was waived by then Pope, John Paul II. In 2002, she was ‘beatified’, becoming ‘Blessed Teresa’ after the Vatican recognised a miracle attributed to her – a locket containing her picture curing the tumour of an Indian woman. The second miracle – needed to become a saint – was recognised in December 2015. St Teresa of Kolkota canonoised at the vatican on September 4, Sunday will last long in memory.