SheThePeople Correspondent Neha Dhingra went to the St Thomas Church at Loreto House at Middleton Row in Calcutta to meet sister Blessela and speak about the canonisation of Mother Teresa.
A mother for all. That’s how we all have remembered Mother Teresa but today with her canonisation in Rome, she would officially be included in the canon, or a list of recognised saints. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to fill St Peter’s Square to see Pope Francis lead the ceremony. She died in 1997 – aged 87 – and was beatified in 2003, the first step to sainthood. Mother Teresa’s journey started out as a simple girl born in the Macedonian Capitol Skopje.
Canonisation is the act by which the Orthodox, Oriental Orthodoxy, Roman Catholic, or Anglican Church declares that a person who has died was a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints.
September the 4th will go down in history as “the mother of all” will be declared a saint and “now her name shall be chanted in holy prayers and her image shall adorn a halo on the head when remembered by her lovers,” explained Sister Blessela to our correspondent Dhingra. It all started with a realisation that she was to serve the people. “One day while travelling back to her quarters in a Calcutta tram she realized that the Lord has spoken to her and asked her to fulfil the mission of her life which was to help the poor and needy with all she had,” sister Blessela recalls of Mother Teresa’s story.
Mother Teresa founded a sisterhood that runs 19 homes, and won the Nobel Peace Prize.
“She brought down heaven on earth for all” said a teacher at Loreto Entally who is also a volunteer at the Missionaries of Charity Pricillia Dawn. “I was not lucky enough to see her at work but I have flashes of childhood memory of my visits to the Mother’s house where I always saw her at work but with a brighting smile.” She wanted to follow her step and joined Loreto to become a teacher.
Sister Cyril who currently is not a regular at the Missionaries of Charity due to her age (she is 78) but was one of the lucky few to have worked closely with Mother Teresa. “I was new in Kolkata when I came here under the Loreto Order of sisters, by that time Mother Teresa had already left to form the Missionaries of Charity… She does not require a Canonization ceremony, she is already a saint in the hearts of millions,” says Sister Cyril To SheThePeople in a telephonic chat.
In 2002, the Vatican ruled that an Indian woman’s stomach tumour had been miraculously cured after prayers to Mother Teresa. The Pope cleared the way for sainthood last year when he recognised a second miracle attributed to her reports BBC
Kolkata-based Kounteya Sinha who is the official photographer of the Sainthood project spoke with SheThePeople from The Vatican who is there for the canonisation. “ I am privileged to be a part of the Canonisation ceremony, I am especially invited by the Pope for the function. I always admired Mother Teresa, I can’t believe how the world came together for my city and my Saint. I hope some of them land up in Kolkata in the near future. The Sainthood Project was an incredibly difficult idea to execute. Standing in this scorching sub for hours without anyone else to hold the other side of the rope was tough. But some one or the other from some part of the world picked up the rope and stood there glorifying Kolkata.”