Kolkata: Senior representatives from the Missionaries of Charity (MoC) and the Catholic Arch Diocese of Calcutta will be carrying Mother Teresa’s blood sample, conserved at the Mother House museum for the beatification ceremony to be held in Vatican City next year. As per ritual, the blood sample will be presented as a ‘relic’ along with a portrait of Mother.
MoC superior-general Sister Prema will lead the delegation and Archbishop Thomas D’Souza will be a key member of the team. The ceremony will be held either on August 24 (Mother’s birthday) or September 5 (the day she died).
“It is a ritual to carry a first-class relic of the person to be beatified. It could be a strand of hair, a piece of bone or blood. In this case, a piece of a blood-soaked bandage used by Mother will be carried. It is stored at the museum in Mother House,” said Sunil Lucas, president of the World Catholic Association for Communication.
Other than first-class relics, articles used by the person to be beatified may also be carried to the ceremony. But in this case, only the blood sample and the portrait will be taken to Vatican City. The life-size portrait of the nun will be selected from the several that MoC has. “For us, Mother is already a saint. The second miracle was just a matter of time and it has now been accepted. This is a proud moment for the entire order, the community and Kolkata,” said Lucas, who has been associated with MoC for over two decades.
Kolkata had been waiting for the announcement since 1997 when Mother passed away, said Archbishop D’Souza. “The process had been initiated soon after and the then Archbishop Henry D’Souza had taken the lead. It is a very happy occasion for us and the entire city. We have been waiting for this for nearly two decades now,” said D’Souza.
Once Mother is beatified, she will turn an ‘intercede’ of God. “One can then pray to her to intervene and put in a word to God. None other than God can be worshipped. But we will now have a Saint whom we can call our own,” said Lucas.
For millions of her followers and admirers, Mother has always been a saint, Lucas said. “Having associated with MoC, I have come across so many people for whom she has been more than a saint. Every one of us can make a difference by doing well what we are engaged in doing. She indeed spoke like a Saint,” Lucas said.
Mother’s blood sample was collected during her final illness in August 1997. Mother’s hair sample and articles used by her are also conserved. “But the blood sample could be given preference simply because nothing else could be more intimately symbolic of her. It will almost be like having her there,” said Lucas.