The house where Mother Teresa – who recently attained sainthood by being Canonised at the Vatican – lived for a few years after she left the Loreto Convent School in Entally to serve the poor and hapless people of Kolkata in the 1940s is now in the process of being restored.
Number 14, Creek Lane in central Kolkata is the residence where the Mother initially lived between 1948 and 1953 and founded the beginnings for the Missionaries of Charity.
In 1950, a few young women joined the Mother, as her mission to serve the poor inspired them.
With 12 sisters by her side, Mother Teresa started the Missionaries of Charity. The floor, which they occupied then, is now in the possession of the Missionaries of Charity and is in the process of being restored.
“Actually this property is not in a very-run down condition. The restoration team is at work. The Chapel used by the Mother will be restored and, I believe, used by the nuns to pray. There is also a staircase which leads up to that floor which they used”, Manish Chakrabarti, the consulting heritage architect who had recently won a UNESCO award for restoration of St Olav’s Church in Serampore, told Millennium Post.
The initial days of the Missionaries were full of struggle. Mother used to be accompanied by the Gomes brothers – who owned the property –as she went about asking every chemist shop in the locality to donate medicines for the poor and sick people in the slums.
It has been reported that Mother often went without food and the group lived in extreme frugality in those days. She had already given up her home at the Loreto Convent, where she had taught for almost 20 years.
The house belonged to one Michael Gomes, who gave the missionaries one big hall and four surrounding rooms on the upper floor of his building.
Over the years, Gomes became a confidant of the Mother, who would apparently consult him on several matters. When the Missionaries grew in number, the Mother and her fellow sisters moved to Mother House on AJC Bose Road, where she lived until her death in 1997.
By 1997, the Missionaries of Charity had grown to more than 4,000 sisters, running orphanages and charity centres worldwide, and caring for the poor, sick and homeless and victims of floods, epidemics, war and famine.