Category Archives: Missionaries of Charity

Early sainthood for Mother Teresa

dr Gezim Alpion addresses Missionaries of Charity nuns at MC Mother House Kolkata.

Dr Gezim Alpion addresses Missionaries of Charity nuns at MC Mother House Kolkata.

NEWD DELHI, (Dr John Dayal) — The recent twin canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II have raised hopes in the faithful in India that Pope Francis will consider an early declaration of sainthood for some of the six Indian church greats, including Mother Teresa and Joseph Vaz, who are now in the category of the Blessed.

No one cavils the speeded up processes for the two Holy fathers whose historic work for the church, and in world affairs, merits them the position of saints, to be honoured and revered, their intercession sought in our prayers. Both are dearly loved in India. John XXIII’s empowerment for the laity, his concern for the peoples of the third world – the developing countries – and in many ways ending the western ethos of the Catholic church and making it truly universal in liturgy are signal contributions which have been noted by both clerical and lay faithful scholars and community leaders.

John Paul II is in a different category altogether. Almost everyone in India remembers him, not just Catholics or faithful of other Christian denominations, but persons of other faiths. He visited India twice, going to all corners of the country, far away from the usual visits that others make to just New Delhi or Mumbai. John Paul II celebrated mass in such public places as the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, and interacted with a wide cross section of the population, among them leaders of various political groups and sages of other faiths, many of who shared the stage with him. For the political groups, he was one of the main personalities instrumental in the fall of the Iron Curtain, and for bringing democracy to a very large part of eastern Europe which was till then in the thrall of the Soviet Union. In doing so, he personified man’s yearning for freedom, and strengthened the universal struggle for freedom of faith. For the ordinary Catholics, he was already a saintly figure even when he was alive, and they knew he would be formally canonized in a short time.

Some memorable photographs very dear to the Indian heart show Pope John Paul II with Mother Teresa, affectionately holding her gnarled hands in his own, engaged in animated conversation, the tiny figure of the Mother in her blue bordered sari a contrast to his sportsman-like figure which was even then defying age and perhaps the early signs of his illness.

The Mother has been beatified, and in fact, I worship at the Blessed Teresa Parish church in East New Delhi. There are already several other Teresa Parishes in the country, a sign of the love they repose in her.

But more than emotions, there are other reasons why it is hoped that Pope Francis will perhaps even waive a few conditions and ensure that Teresa is canonized at an early date. Kerala does have a Saint, Sr. Alfonso, and the other three St Francis Xavier, Gonsolo Garcia and John de Brito were also from the western coast, working in the south India-Sri Lanka region. Not any in the vast reaches of North India know of them. Many would therefore say that after Saint Thomas the Apostle, the Patron Saint of India, Mother Teresa is the first candidate for sainthood who is known in every corner of India, and by everyone. Her canonization would have far reaching impact on not just the Catholic community, but on evangelisation among the peoples.

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Youth groups join church bodies in solidarity with rape victims

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKALYANI, (C.M. Paul) – Several youth and women’s organizations joined hands with church bodies in solidarity with rape victims all over India at a candle light procession held at Gayeshpur Check Post near Don Bosco Catholic Church at Kalyani, Thursday 3rd January 2013. The participation of 56 Salesian Sisters of Kolkata province visiting Kalyani  and joining the procession was noteworthy.

The event jointly organized by Conference of Religious Kalyani unit along with Don Bosco Youth Services and Auxilium Youth Movement Kalyani was held from 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm.

Over 300 people participated in lighting candles at the venue.

“It is not just for the 23 year old New Delhi rape victim who died last week that we held this rally, but for all rape victims… We need to create awareness among the public on the need to respect girls and women as our sisters and mothers,” said director of youth services and Headmistress of Auxilium Convent School Kalyani Sr Rosalia Tirkey who spearheaded the initiative for the candle light procession.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAmong 13 participating groups at Kalyani rally were: ICYM – Indian Catholic Youth Movement; DBYAC – Don Bosco Youth Animation Centre; SMI – Sisters of Mary Immaculate; ASAHLAYAM – Don Bosco & Holy Family; FMA – Salesian Sisters Kolkata; AYM – Auxilium Youth Movement; CRI – Conference of Religious India; Children’s Parliament; Mothers’ Sodality; Women’s Self Help Group; All India Christiyo Parisheba; MC Brothers – Missionaries of Charity, and Don Bosco Catholic Church.

Representatives of participating organizations made short prayers for rape victims that they may get speedy justice and prayed for the welfare and protection of the girl child and women.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAmong the speakers were Saguna Panchayat Council Member Mrs Meera and local leader Mr Sukumar Roy, both parishioners.

The one hour long programme consisted of prayers and speeches which were interspersed with patriotic and solidarity songs.

Besides leaders of participating organizations, some of the men who coordinated the event included Director of DB Youth Services Fr Raymond Tudu, compere Subir Roy, and parish youth Commissioner Mr Gavin.

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SMI Sisters Keep Bishop Morrow’s 25th death anniversary

A rare photo of Bishop L.R. Morrow SDB

KRISHNAGAR, (C.M. Paul) – The Generalate and Mother House of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate (SMI) kept 25th death anniversary of Salesian Bishop Louis L.R. Morrow of Krishnagar, with solemn liturgical and commemorative services 31st August. The SMI Kolkata province headquarters based at Kalyani held a solemn Eucharistic celebration on 30 August.

Bishop Morrow and Mother Teresa with CRS chief, early 1960s.

The American Bishop and founder of the “smiling sisters” and “cycle sisters” popular for their village catechesis and activities for the promotion of women is still affectionately remembered as “Father Bishop.”

Louis was born on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1892 at Weatherford, Texas, U.S.A. Later, the family moved to Puebla, Mexico where he joined the Salesians in 1911.

After completing his studies at the Catholic University of Palafox, Mexico, and ordained priest in 1921, he founded “La Buena Prensa” (The Good Press) to promote wholesome literature and cinema.

From 1922 to 1939 Father Morrow served as secretary to the Apostolic Delegate in Manila, Philippines. In 1926 he founded the Catholic Truth Society of Manila to publish Catholic literature, mainly for youth. He became a popular retreat director, a prolific writer and publisher of a series of catechetical books, and also nine text books officially recognized for use in schools in the Philippines. His esteemed book Our Catholic Faith (currently used in several countries) is an exuberant expression of his catechetical charism.

As Bishop of Krishnagar from 1939 to 1969, he was a zealous pastor and missionary – “an angel of God’s love to all.”

While building up the diocese of Krishnagar which in those days extended to several towns of present day Bangaldesh, Bishop Morrow also served the city of Krishnagar in an official capacity as Mayor.

For 12 years Bishop Morrow was commissioner of KrishnagarMunicipality. He also served as official visitor to Nadia District Jail, member of the Advisory Board of the GovernmentHospital, and as consultant to the Indian Red Cross Society of West Bengal.

The older Sisters recall how Bishop Morrow “faced courageously and acted timely and tenaciously during the crisis of World War II, the Disastrous Famine of Bengal, the tragedy of the partition of India as well as withstanding the several natural calamities of floods and droughts.

To realize his vision of reaching out to all people, especially women in their homes, he founded the congregation of the Catechist Sisters of Mary Immaculate Help of Christians on 12 December 1948. He was also an active and effective council Father at the Second Vatican Council promoting the use of vernacular and inclusive language in the liturgy, human rights, equality for women as well as ordination of women to the priesthood.

The first group of eight novices received their religious habit of white sari with three stripes on Sunday 20 April 1952.

Today, 60 years later, there are 625 Sisters working in 77 institutions in 5 provinces and one delegation in India, Africa and Europe. This year the congregation has over 30 novices and some 130 pre-novices.

The mortal remains of Bishop Morrow who died on 31st August 1987 were laid to rest in the cathedral of the Most Holy Redeemer at Krishnagar where even today devotees put fresh flowers and stop by to pray.

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DOMINIQUE LaPIERRE, sits on a chair, attends to telephone

Dominique LaPierre

KOLKATA (Gaston Dayanand) —  Following a phone call yesterday of “Dominique  Didi”, (19 July) for the first time her husband could sit on an armchair! Beautiful news indeed.

Moreover, during the whole day he could open his eyes and follow the various persons who came to meet him. Sometimes, he seems to be able to understand something. I could speak to him directly through his wife’s mobile.

I told him slowly but loudly how many people pray for him, how much Indians are grateful for what he has done for us, how much we love him. Our lady-in charge here told him of her love and the love of all the children who pray for him.

After that, his wife explained me: “I am sure he (Dominique) knew the phone was from India and from you (Gaston), because he listened very attentively, but I am not sure of course that he has understood all. The ergotherapic process will take a lot of time.

But we do know now that the Will of God is that he must live. How? Is a different question, and the answer lies in the future and… in our patience.

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Mother Teresa girl makes Bharatnatyam debut

Dipika Das at GD Birla, Kolkata

KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – A girl who practically grew up with Mother Teresa nuns made her debut Indian dance recital yesterday (17 April) in front of her Bharatnatyam gurus (masters), scores of Missionaries of Charity Sisters and well wishers at a performance held at G.D. Birla Sabhagar Auditorium Kolkata.

“It was in deed a dream come true for me… to do something beautiful for God,” said Dipika Das echoing the words of Blessed Mother Teresa her inspiration to pursue the spirituality of Bharatnattyam.

Speaking toUCAN Dipika said, “I stay with the Missionaries of Charity at Shanti Dan Tengra (Kolkata) for almost 20 years with my mother.”

Dipika’s mother died in 2010.

The plot of land at Tangra which the then Chief Minister of Bengal Sri Jyoti Basu donated to Mother Teresa to start a rehabilitation centre for women prisoners some 20 years ago, to day houses also the MC Brothers who take care of AIDS patients.

Dipika born at Bongaon, an Indo-Bangladesh border town in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal.

Coming from a family of musicians, Dipika was introduced to Bharatnatyam and yoga by her parents. She had initial dance training under the guidance of local Bharatnatyam exponents of Chidambaram Nrittya mandir.

Paying respects to Dipika's gurus

Dipika successfully completed Master’s degree in Fine Arts (Dance) from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata in 2007, with specialization in Bharatnattyam.

Dipika is presently a student of Nrityashree, Chennai, under the training and guidance of one of India’s outstanding senior guru and Padmabushan awardee Bharatnatyan exponent, Prof. C.V. Chandrasekhar along with Smt. Jaya Chandrasekhar and Smt. Manjari Chandrasekhar.

“Dipika is very positive, hardworking, ardent and persevering student of dancing. We can only bless and encourage her to come up in life’” said Smt. Jaya speaking on behalf of her husband who could not be present at the event due to recent eye ailment.

A disciple of Manjari, Dipika is grateful to Kolkata Jesuit Fr (Dr.) Saju George, Ms Nirmala Lawrence and Smt. Anjana Thakurata Banerjee other Bharatnattyam exponents.

Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity Sr Prema presented special mementoes to Dipika’s gurus and the four member music troupe from Chennai.


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Dedicate yourself to the well being of others, tells Dalai Lama in Kolkata

Dalai Lama talks on Mother Teresa in Kolkata

KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke on Mother Teresa marking her birth centenary in Kolkata on Thursday, 1st December 2011. At the hour-long function held at hotel Taj Bengal there were some 400 “enlightened audience” as the governor of Bengal Mr M.K. Narayanan said.

The governor compared Mother Teresa and His holiness the Dalai Lama as “people of pious disposition and as best known humans on earth.”

Also on the dais with the Governor was Missionaries of Charity superior general Sr Prema. She spoke of Mother Teresa as a disciple of Jesus who “went about doing good to others” in spite of opposition. Sr Prema encouraged all “to perform works of peace and loving deeds.” She reminded the audience, “Peace begins with a smile.”

On behalf of West Bengal Chief Minister Miss Mamta Banerjee who was unable to attend the event due to the illness of her mother, Member of Rajya Sabha, Mr Derek O’Brien conveyed the absent Chief Minister’s good wishes and extended her hearty welcome to His Holiness on behalf of the people of Bengal.

Mr. O’Brien also complimented the Missionaries of Charity “which does Kolkata proud across the world.”

Speaking for over 30 minutes without notes and from the heart, His Holiness Dali Lama (76 years old) a refugee inIndiafor over 50 years now, recalled his two or three meetings with Mother Teresa and his visit to Mother Teresa’s Tomb.

Impressed by the example of the sisters His Holiness complimented the Missionaries of Charity saying “dedicated Sisters, REALLY (underlined), working hard… you practice and implement what Jesus Christ taught.”

Alluding to Mother Teresa His Holiness said, “Compassionate person’s activities are non-violent… hatred, fear, violence and jealousy lead to unhappiness,” said His holiness stressing the Indian tradition of ahimsa and religious harmony.

“Dedicate yourself to the well-being of others and you will find happiness,” said His Holiness to a young girl who asked for a mantra for life.

While asserting the fact that “all religious traditions have same potential for helping humanity,” His Holiness decried the lack of moral and ethical principles in today’s society.

“Moral and ethical principles need not be based on any particular religion,” His Holiness said insisting that “they should be based on secular ethics… common sense, healthy mind and body is very connected for harmony,” he said.

He asserted that Indian spiritual and religious leaders should take more active role to promote ‘ahimsa (non-violence) and harmony, two great Indian values.

He encouraged leaders to speak out against, “caste system and corruption” that is plaguing Indian society.

“It is necessary to point out openly and bluntly about the denegation of the quality of even Tibetan Lamas,” he said alluding to his recent criticism of some Tibetan monks.

His Holiness was expected in Kolkata earlier in the year when artist Sunita Kumar and noted painter M.F Hussain held Mother Teresa art exhibition at the Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata.

The programme was organized by industrialist couple Sunita and Naresh Kumar long time Mother Teresa associates.

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Mother Teresa’s 101st Birthday Day Celebrated

101st birthday of Mother Teresa, 26 August 2011

KOLKATA, (C.M.Paul) – The 101st birthday of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was celebrated solemnly with a dawn Mass (6.00 am) at the Missionaries of Charity Mother House on Lower Circular Road presided over by Coadjutor archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Kolkata, 26 August. Nine priests concelebrated the Eucharist accompanied by faithful, volunteers and MC Sisters who packed the chapel above the tomb. There were seven television camera crew and several journalists who reached before 6.00 am and took their positions.

After the Mass a group of children from Missionaries of Charity Shishu Bhavan sang a Bengali song (We are children of the light) and led in procession the archbishop and Missionaries of Charity Superior General Sr Prema and former General Sr Nirmala to Mother’s tomb. After lighting the birthday candles Sr Prema gave a brief message.

Though people inIndiagenerally keep birthday, the day of her baptism was actually more important to Mother Teresa.

Metro stn. Park Street to Mother Teresa not changed

Though the prestigiousPark Streetwas named Mother Teresa Sarani, the new name has not caught on yet. Except Archbishop’s House and St Xavier’s College (30 & 32 Mother Teresa Saranai) no other establishment has switched on to the new name.

So also another claim made on the occasion of Mother Teresa birth centenary in Kolkata last year, to name Park Street Metro railway station as MOTHER TERESA station has also not yet been executed. However, to the credit of Metro Rail authorities, thePark Streetmetro station has a fitting Mother Teresa mural at the flap gate entrance to the main station. Besides a large mosaic of Mother Teresa and three large panels of writing on her. There is also a circular pillar draped in while and blue border.

“Photography is strictly forbidden” in writ large at the entrance to the Metro station, hence no photograph. Add to that the introduction of token system these days (instead of tickets) has thrown off gear both passengers and rail staff into chaos. Though I wanted to meet with the Station Master and interview him, seeing the long queues and flared tempers, I gave up.

However, a photo of the metro rail station found in the internet proves thefact Park Streetstation still remainsPark Streetand not Mother Teresa.


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