Kolkata, Aug 26 (IANS) Days before she is declared a saint by the Vatican, special masses and prayers marked Mother Teresa’s 106th birth anniversary celebrations here on Friday.
Candles were lit and the nun’s grave at Mother House — the global headquarters of her Catholic order Missionaries of Charity — was decorated with flowers as the sisters and other eminent persons sang hymns, read from the Bible and recalled her celebrated life.
Mother Teresa is set to be canonised by Pope Francis at the Vatican on September 4, a day ahead of her 19th death anniversary. She died on September 5, 1997, less than a month after her 86th birthday.
A large number of people, including school children and residents of the various homes run by the MoC, congregated at Mother House, which wore a festive look.
A special prayer card for the faithful read: “We thank you (Lord Jesus) for the gift of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, who will be canonised in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.”
Similar programmes were organised at the other homes run by the Missionaries of Charity.
The four-day Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTIFF), which would feature 23 foreign and Indian films made on or inspired by the Nobel laureate, was inaugurated during the day at the state government-run auditorium Nandan.
Paying homage, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “My deepest respect on the birth anniversary of Mother Teresa.”
Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, Sister Prema, who is already in the Vatican, said in a message that the order was looking forward to the celebrations of the Mother’s sainthood with great joy.
“It will be a moment when gathered around Mother we shall have an experience of universal family of the children of the one Heavenly Father. The difference of caste, creed, colour, rich, poor will not prevent us from rejoicing together in the honour bestowed on Mother,” said Sister Prema.
Underscoring that the sainthood to be bestowed on the Mother would inspire the people in Kolkata as also all over the world to follow her example of humble services for everyone, she said: “Mother is with God and as she promised us she continues to light the light of hope and peace in everyone’s heart.”
Attending a programme, Banerjee said Mother is known for her services with determination, devotion and dedication to downtrodden people.
“She always said love people, love poor. She received Nobel Peace prize in 1979 and Bharat Ratna in 1980. Awards are nothing but with her actions and activities, she will remain forever,” Banerjee said.