Kolkata: With less than two weeks left for canonisation of Mother Teresa on September 4, the city where she served the poor and the destitute for nearly five decades has a series of events lined to commemorate the occasion.
Archbishop Thomas D’Souza said a life-sized bronze statue of the Mother will be installed at the Bishop House next to the statue of Pope John Paul II. He added that the statue, donated by Namit Bajoria, the Designate Honorary Consul of Republic of Macedonia in Kolkata, will be installed at a programme on August 25.
Plethora of events
The events celebrating the canonisation of Mother Teresa which includes book releases, talks, symposiums, film festivals and an art exhibition, began on Sunday, with a programme at Santi Dan, Mother’s home for the homeless.
The celebrations will continue in the city till November. On October 2, a ‘Thanksgiving Holy Eucharist’ followed by a civic programme will be held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium with Vice President Hamid Ansari among the guests. The celebrations will continue till November, with the West Bengal government planning a ‘Homage to St. Teresa of Calcutta’.
Among the books to be released is Mother Teresa — A Life, written by the late Sudeb Roy Chowdhury, a well-known journalist. It will be released by two different international publishers in French and English. Another book by a Kolkata-based entrepreneur is expected to be released in Rome by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who will be attending the ceremony in Rome.
One of the highlights of the celebrations will be the Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTIFF), beginning on August 26.
The film festival will feature 23 foreign and Indian films made on or inspired by the Nobel laureate. Besides seven Indian films, documentaries and short films from the U.S., France, U.K., Spain, Italy, Canada and Japan will be screened including a film by Gautam Lewis, a 39-year-old film maker. As a polio affected child, Mr Lewis was rescued by Mother Teresa and later adopted by a British couple. The film maker will be in the city to attend the festival.
Not only in Kolkata, but Mother’s country of birth, Macedonia, will mark the Sainthood conferment with many events.
Life of service
Born of Albanian parents in Macedonia in 1910, Mother Teresa came to India in 1929. She set up the Missionaries of Charity in 1950 and dedicated her entire life to the service of the poor and the destitute living in slums and streets of Kolkata. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979. She died on September 5, 1997.
Mother Teresa was beatified in 2003, by the Late Pope John Paul after a miracle of curing a woman hailing from Uttar Dinajpur district of a tumour in her stomach, which was later approved by the Vatican. She became ‘Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’, one miracle away from being declared a Saint.