Vatican City, Sep 4 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sang popular Bengali devotional songs and walked with members of her delegation from Rome to St Peter’s Basilica where Mother Teresa on Sunday was conferred sainthood.
Later, the chief minister said she felt “immensely blessed” to have witnessed the ceremony.
Sporting a white saree with blue border, much like what the Nobel Laureate Teresa used to wear, Banerjee – flanked by Trinamool Congress parliamentarians Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Derek O’Brien among others – covered the distance from Rome to the St. Peter’s Basilica doing a traditional Bengali “prabhat pheri” (morning choir).
As the delegation crossed important junctions and marched through roads and lanes, crowds gathered and passersby stopped to listen to Rabindranath Tagore’s immortal creations “Aguner Poroshmoni” and “Prano Bhoriye Trisha Horiye”.
They also sang devotional songs like “Biswapita tumi he prabhu” and “Mangaladeep jele”, with Banerjee taking the lead.
O’Brien – dressed in the traditional Bengali wear of kurta and dhoti – and Bandopadhyay, clad in kurta-pyjama, matched steps with Banerjee to witness the historic occasion for which dignitaries from across the globe congregated.
Passionate about walking, Banerjee, much like in Bengal, has never let go any opportunity to cover on foot distances during her foreign visits also. During her trips to Singapore and Bhutan, Banerjee and her team would often walk their way to famous tourist attractions.
Sporting small placards with the words “City of Mother Team Bengal”, the team from Bengal reached the famous holy site where Pope Francis declared the nun a Saint of the Catholic Church sending ripples of joy thousands of miles away in Kolkata – Teresa’a adopted home.
At the St. Peter’s Basilica, Banerjee took a seat with the sisters of the Mother Teresa founded order Missionaries of Charity at the ceremony.
“I feel immensely blessed to have witnessed the canonisation of our beloved Mother in the Vatican today,” Banerjee said in a Facebook post.
The chief minister said she was was ushered in the venue in a very special way by MoC superior general Sister Prema.
“It was a moment of overwhelming pride, a moment to once again dedicate ourselves to the cause of humanity,” she said.
Banerjee later gifted a Bible bound in Baluchari silk to the Pope.
She handed over the Bible to Kolkata Archbishop Thomas D’Souza and Sister Mary Prema Pierick, the Superior General of the Teresa founded Missionaries of Charity.
“Bible in Bengali bound in Baluchuri silk presented by @MamataOfficial 2 Sr Prema & Kol Bishop for gift to @Pontifex,” tweeted O’Brien.
The Mother founded Missionary of Charity also gave a Bengal touch to the ceremony when one of the representatives read out a verse in Bengali. Religious and political leaders from across the globe paid rich tributes to Saint Teresa.
Kolkata-based pop singer Usha Uthup too performed at the ceremony.
Back in the city, state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim on the day presented a bouquet of 106 roses to mark the 106th year of Albanian nun at a function to mark the momentous occasion.
The chief minister on August 26 had unveiled a life size bronze statue of Mother Teresa in Kolkata’s Park Street to mark her 106th birth anniversary.