By C.M. Paul
Kolkata: The people of Kolkata on August 26 paid floral tributes to Mother Teresa of Calcutta on her 107th birth anniversary.
Events started at the Missionaries of Charity Mother House on 54A Lower Circular Road in Kolkata where her mortal remains are interned.
Starting the day, Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta celebrated a solemn Mass at Mother Teresa’s tomb with more than one hundred Missionaries of Charity Sisters participating.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, “‘Peace begins with a smile.’ Homage to @StTeresaOfCal, Mother to many of us, on her birth anniversary.”
A steady stream of visitors including several batches of students and devotees visited Mother’s tomb during the day.
An annual feature since Mother’s death 20 years ago – Mother House witnessed the interfaith prayer meeting held to mark the occasion of her birth day.
Mother’s grave was decorated with flowers and candles with blue stripes as the Sisters led by the Missionaries of Charity Superior General Sister Mary Prema and other eminent persons sang hymns, read verses from the Bible and recalled her life of services to the poorest of the poor.
Floral tributes were made in the morning at the bronze life size statue of St Teresa of Calcutta installed at Archbishop’s House Calcutta last year to mark her canonization. Honorary Consul General to Macedonia His Excellency Namit Bajoria who gifted the statue, offered a bouquet of yellow roses along with archbishop D’Souza who also keeps his birthday on the same day.
Floral tributes were paid at Mother Teresa statues installed in other parts of Kolkata. Among them are Mother Teresa bust given by Mayor of Naples and installed at the crossing of Camac Street and Mother Teresa Sarani (Park Street).
Another sculpture of Mother Teresa sitting on a park bench with children, donated by Russian Consul General and installed at National Library lawns also received flowers and garlands.
Homages were paid to Mother Teresa at St Teresa of Calcutta church in Dum Dum and Mother Teresa Chapel at Mothijeel where she started her mission from 1948 and other life size statues of Mother Teresa installed at Churches in Chandernagore, Moulali and Park Circus to name a few.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta was born on August 26, 1910 at Skopje in Macedonia.
She died on September 5, 1997.
Declared “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta” by St Pope John Paul II in 2003, Mother Teresa was the recipient of numerous honors including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (jewel of India) in 1962.
A citizen’s initiative art exhibition on Mother Teresa of Calcutta by artistes of all ages and genre is being organized by Kolkata based Indian National Forum for Art and Culture at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Kolkata.
It is scheduled to be held on September 4-5 to mark her 20th death anniversary.