Mother Teresa, the icon of world peace and founder of the Missionaries of Charity, will be canonised at the Vatican in Rome on September 4.
But the nun who stepped out of Loreto in 1948 and made it her life’s mission to work for the “poorest of the poor” for over 40 years has for years been revered as a ‘saint’ by the people whose lives she touched.
“It is not a surprise for us. To those of us who knew her well in Kolkata and elsewhere, she was a saint always” Sunita Kumar, who met the mother for the first time in 1967, told Millennium Post.
Kumar recalls several incidents where the Mother’s prayers and “touch” healed people in pain. “There was a lady we knew who had sprained her ankle and was in pain. The Mother prayed for her healing and by the time the lady reached hone, her pain had disappeared”, said Kumar, who has attended the Mother’s beatification ceremony in Rome in 2003.
Kumar recalls another incident when she accompanied the Mother to the Indo-Bangladesh border after the 1971 war. “The refugees were streaming in but she was there to bless them and offer them succour”, said Kumar. The Mother had also rushed to the Nellie in Assam’s Nagaon district to offer comfort and rehabilitate the survivors of ethnic carnage in the 1980s.
Kumar recalls how the Mother had escorted her to Nirmal Hriday – one of the Mother’s homes in Kolkata which offered shelter and care for the dying and the destitute. “There is nothing to fear. Everybody has to go one day. When you walk in, just smile”, Mother had advised Kumar, who was received with smiles by the suffering inmates of the home.
Kumar, however, feels that the Canonisation of the Mother was only a “confirmation” of her sainthood. “The Church has its own process of conferring Sainthood. We had attended the beatification ceremony which is similar to the one happening in Rome on September 4. We welcome this wonderful world event”, says Kumar who has been the Mother’s associate and unofficial spokesperson for decades together.
Meanwhile, it is known that six representatives from the Missionaries of Charity, Kolkata have already gone to Rome to take part in the Canonisation ceremony. The other sisters at Mother House will be watching the mass on September 4 on television.