Masses, special prayers mark Saint Teresa’s death anniversary

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Kolkata, Sep 5 (IANS) Masses and special prayers marked the 19th death anniversary of Mother Teresa on Monday, a day after she was conferred sainthood by Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity — the order founded by the Mother to minister to the poorest of the poor and the infirm — and Roman catholic priests lit candles and held an early morning mass before her tomb in the congregation’s headquarters Mother House.

Mother passed away in the three-storeyed building on September 5, 1997, and was laid to rest there on September 13.

The white grave — a simple rectangular cement tomb three feet high in what was earlier a dining room — was bedecked with multi-hued flowers, as the nuns, priests and visitors, some of them foreigners, read from the Bible and sang hymns.

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Devotees gathered at the central Kolkata building since dawn, waiting to offer flowers and pray at the Mothers’ tomb.

Remembrance programmes were held at various schools.

Mother Teresa, born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, Aug 26, 1910, to an ethnic Albanian family, made Kolkata her home and workplace for 68 years since 1929. She was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

A year later, she received the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest award.

Mother was declared a Saint by Pope Francis before over 1.20 lakh devotees at the Vatican on Sunday, becoming one of the fastest Saints in the history of the Catholic Church.

She was earlier beatified or declared Blessed Teresa in 2003 by then Pope John Paul-II, who had waived the customary five-year waiting period after a person’s death before the start of the sainthood process.

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