Category Archives: Nun’s Story

Mother Teresa Film Festival Inaugurated in Kolkata

Nandan blue and white illumination at dusk

KOLKATA (C.M. Paul) — The third edition of the Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTIFF) 2010 was inaugurated at NANDAN ONE, the West Bengal state government’s cine complex, 26 August 2010. It will last four days and will run in all four halls of the cine centre. The festival opened with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by Cardinal Thelesphore Toppo of Ranchi, Archbishop Lucas Sircar of Kolkata, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity Sr Prema, CEO of Nandan Mr. Nilanjan Chatterjee, Signis India president Fr Vincent Chinnadurai, UNESCO India country representative Mr. Shankar Chowdhuri, Catholic Relief Services Regional representative Ms. Rama Hansraj and MTIFF director Mr Sunil Lucas. Sr Prema declared the festival open.
In his introductory words Mr. Lucas said that MTIFF2010 was very special, as it was the first time that “the festival is travelling to some 100 cities across India” till 31 December 2010. It will also be travelling to some 15 countries including Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, Nepal and Italy.
MTIFF also goes for the first time on rail, as Bengal’s own Central Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee flagged off MOTHER EXPRESS from Sealdah Station in the presence of the Missionaries of Charity Sisters Prema and Nirmala, Archbishop Lucas Sircar of Kolkata and several Members of Parliament from Bengal.(Shri Dinesh Trivedi, Shri Mukhul Roy, Members of Parliament Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Somendranath Mitra, Shri Sovan Chatterjee, Shikha Mitra.)
The train is expected to stop at 80 destinations across the country carrying several coaches of exhibition related to Mother Teresa’s life and work as well as a coach dedicated to screening Mother Teresa films.

MTIFF2010 adda (open forum) and interactive section at Nandan 3, daily from 4 to 5.30 pm

MTIFF 2010 went on city Metro Rail on the occasion of the re-naming of Park Street metro station to Mother Teresa station (26 August) and Mother Teresa films are being shown on the entire metro network of 23 stations.
Another specialty of MTIFF2010 is the daily Open Forum at Nandan 3 (4 to 5.30 pm) for interaction with Fr Brian MC (Postulator General of Mother Teresa’s cause for sainthood from Rome) and the directors of films and the public moderated by Kolkata Jesuit provincial Fr George Pattery.
MTIFF2010 went ecological with e-ticketing where on 200 sheets of paper 7000 tickets were booked.
MTIFF has a dedicated hall to the especially abled where wheel chair bound persons could view the films. This is a first ever feature in an international film festival.
Among the film directors present on the opening day were Fr Pierre Belanger SJ (The Making of a Saint -Canada), Jeanette Petrie (Mother Teresa – USA), Sunil Jindal (The Living Legend).
The Calcutta Tramways Company had a surprise for the Missionaries of Charity when a decorated Tram drew up at the Mother House with band party welcoming it and former Superior General flagging it off. It had a Mother Teresa photo Exhibition to mark her 100 birth day.

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MTIFF Runs Into Bureaucratic Hitch on Film Festival Eve

Sunil Lucas breaking the news to MTIFF core team.

KOLKATA (C.M. Paul) — They did it again. The first ever Mother Teresa feature film script which was approved by Mother Teresa in 1982 took 15 years for production surviving three approvals and three “permission” denials allegedly by Mother Teresa herself. Mother died on 5 September 1997 and the film was released later in that year. Ironically, that same film “Mother Teresa: In the Name of God’s Poor” had to be shot in Sri Lanka as Dominique Lapierre’s earlier film shot in Calcutta entitled CITY OF JOY suffered severe rough weather during its Calcutta shoot, from elements within the current government, local goondas and thugs in the streets! The year was 1991!
Almost 20 years later, things do not seem to have changed much!
The much hyped West Bengal State Government Cinema complex at Nandan partnering with the third Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTIFF 2010) for the first time has run not only into rough weather but also has become a huge embarrassment for MTIFF organizers and partners, the SIGNIS (International Catholic Media Association) and CRS (Catholic Relief Services) along with the Missionaries of Charity and the Archdiocese of Kolkata.
Nandan director Mr. Nilanjan Chatterjee had proudly offered Nandan 1, 2 &3 for all four days. He also proclaimed the same at the Nandanhe Nandan director had also offered Nandan 4 for screeing for the wheel-chair bound and specially challenged persons. The joint press conference was called by Nandan and MTIFF2010 and held at Nandan 4 on 9 August.
Suddenly on 24th August evening, the MTIFF2010 director Mr Sunil Lucas was told that NANDAN ONE would be available for shows only on the opening and concluding days of the film festival. The news put the entire MTIFF team into a tizzy, with nightmares of hundreds of ticket holders clamouring for their shows out side the venue…
On 25th August Mr. Lucas and the director of Chitrabani communications centre Fr P.J. Jospeh SJ and two Missionaries of Charity spent a considerable number of hours at the government seat of power the Writer’s Building to obtain the permission for Nandan ONE for 27 & 28 August. The order which was obtained at the fag end of the day today (25 Aug), was withdrawn immediately and the director has been summoned to appeal for a fresh order to obtain permission for the following two days screenings after the MTIFF inauguration on 26th August noon.
Another day of heart burn for MTIFF director and his trusted Missionaries of Charity duo!It is not worth the effort wasting the time and space here discussing the obvious “bureaucratic reasons” for this gross embarrassment, meted out to MTIFF which incidentally is being followed eagerly in several countries and Indian cities.
As Mother would say: When God shuts a door, he will definitely open up a window!
Incidentally, the current Marxist Chief Minister of Bengal who was scheduled to ingurate MTIFF2010 at his own favourite adda spot, reportedly will not be attending 26 August inaugural. His predecessor, Shri Jyoti Basu, though assured participation, declined to inaugurate the first MTIFF in 2003 at Mother’s beatification!

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Year-long Celebrations Launched at world’s first cathedral named after Mother Teresa

Bishop Salvadore Lobo addresses 19 media persons

BRUIPUR  (C.M. Paul) — The only cathedral in the world dedicated to Mother Teresa of Calcutta at neighbouring Baruipur town in West Bengal’s South-24 Parganas district launched year-long celebrations to mark her birth centenary, 23 August. Novenas and spiritual renewal programmes are scheduled to be held in the 22 parishes and 85 village chapels of the diocese.
Bishop of Baruipur Salvadore Lobo led a solemn concelebrated Eucharist along with 13 priests marking the beginning of Mother Teresa’s birth centenary, 26 August.
In his homily, the bishop said, “holy Eucharist was very central to Mother Teresa’s life who would attend it every morning before going out to work.”
The bishop further called upon some five hundred faithful gathered for the celebration “to be channels of peace as Mother Teresa herself exhorted the Missionaries of Charity nuns to be.”
“Each one of you can be ambassadors of peace and stop violence in a world that is riddled with so much conflict and violence,” the bishop said.
Bishop Lobo, who knew Mother Teresa since 1968, had also headed the diocesan enquiry commission set up for Mother’s beatification.
The Cathedral of Immaculate Heart of Mary and Blessed Teresa at Baruipur was inaugurated, 13 November last year by the Missionaries of Charity’s Superior-General Sister Prema at a solemn function attended by Archbishop of Kolkata Lucas Sircar SDB and Bishop of Baruipur Salvadore Lobo.
While the cathedral’s chief patroness is the Sacred Heart of Mary, the co-patroness is Mother Teresa.
Following her death on 5th September, 1997, the Nobel laureate nun was put on the fast track to sainthood by Pope John Paul-II and was declared ‘Blessed’ at a ceremony at the Vatican in 19th October, 2003 on the basis of claims of a miracle attributed to her.
The Baruipur cathedral is built in the Romanesque style marked by rounded arches and perpendicular elements as prevalent in the 10th and 12th centuries. There are 12 murals on either side of the main hall highlighting the 12 miracles and parables of Jesus Christ, while the art-work on the windows depict Biblical tales.
The work was meticulously supervised by Bishop Lobo who had words of praise for Kolkata based Lokenath Arts. The church arts company had on display 16 new large panels depicting Mother Teresa’s life.

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BBC Grants MTIFF 2010 Permission for 1st Mother Teresa Film

KOLKATA (C.M. Paul) – Media reports about the first ever (1969) Mother Teresa Film “Something Beautiful for God” not being part of 3rd Mother Teresa international Film Festival to be hosted next Thursday (26-29 August) in Kolkata made British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) officials look up e-mail sent to two months ago (20 June) and quickly respond.
“Thank you for your email to Mark Thompson.  I am replying on Mr Thompson’s behalf because he is currently on leave.  Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding,” writes Correspondence Manager James Holton from BBC Director General’s Office, 19 August.
Mr. Holton continues,” I am pleased to inform you that the BBC does not have any objection to “Something Beautiful for God” being screened at your Festival – however the BBC has a duty to remain impartial and must not be seen to be endorsing your Film Festival.”
“We must therefore request that the Festival does not make any reference to the BBC which might suggest that we are supporting or endorsing the event,” insists Mr. Holton.

Mother Teresa & Malcolm Muggeridge - file photo

“This is indeed a great service to the people of Kolkata who have never had the opportunity to see the 1st film ever made on Ma of the city,” says director of MTIFF 2010 Mr. Sunil Lucas in his reply to BBC.
Even though the screening schedule has already been drawn up and all the 15 films have been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification for the Kolkata edition of MTIFF 2010, Mr Lucas adds, “we will try to squeeze in a special screening of the film during the event.”
For back grounder pls refer to this link

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Mother Teresa Film Festival Plans Special Screenings for Disabled

Nandan Film Centre, Kolkata

KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – Setting new trend in international film festivals, director of MTIFF 2010 (Mother Teresa International Film Festival) Kolkata announced a festival hall at the main festival venue totally dedicated for screening of films for the physically challenged.
“What we are providing in MTIFF Kolkata is something that has never been done in any international film festivals. We have a hall with ramp access and wheel chair accommodation exclusively for the specially abled,” says MTIFF director Mr. Sunil Lucas who has been associated with all three MTIFFs (2003 & 2007).
The festival is being hosted at the West Bengal State Film Centre at Nandan (1/1 A.J. C. Bose Road) which has four projection halls. Besides granting Nandan cine halls, 1, 2 and 3 for the four day festival, absolutely free, Nandan director has also put at the disposal of MTIFF organizers a fourth hall exclusively for the physically challenged. Nandan 4 can accommodate wheelchairs, as it has no fixed seating.
“Besides the handicapped persons from Missionaries of Charity homes, our target audience for this special screening would be inmates from Kolkata’s leading centres for the physically challenged like Manovikas Kendra, Asha Niketan, Mentaid, Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy and Spastic Society,” says Mr. Lucas.
Films selected for the screening includes the only Mother Teresa animation film entitled Fifth Word from Spain . Other short films listed for screening are My Karma, Seeing the Face of Jesus, Precious Love, Revelation in Kolkata and Missionaries of Charity.
Previews of some previously unannounced films may also be show during the special screenings, with limited public entry.
All through the festival days (26-29 August) Nandan cine complex will be illuminated in Mother Teresa’s colours (white and blue).

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Kolkata City, MC Sisters and MTIFF Chosen for International Peace Award

MADRID, (C.M. Paul) – The city of Kolkata, the Missionaries of Charity Sisters and the Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTIFF) have been chosen for International Peace Awards, 2010.
“I have the pleasure to inform you that the International Committee of 100 CITIES FOR PEACE, chaired by Her Majesty Princess Nora of Liechtenstein and the Foundation Messengers of Peace (Award Prince of Asturias of Concordia and advisory member of the UN), have declared Calcutta (India), as an INTERNATIONAL CITY FOR PEACE, acknowledging its collective efforts to promote peace and harmony,” wrote its International Director Mr. Pablo Marcet Bonel last week.Marcet further wrote, “in this candidature, the celebration of the centenary of the birth of Mother Teresa of Calcutta has been valued, and especially the fact that this city has witnessed the coexistence between civilizations, cultures and religions, of extraordinary intercultural wealth.”
“The reasons for the prize 100 Cities for Peace to Calcutta is the contribution of Mother Teresa in the world, example of her work with the poor in this city. We want to use her birth centenary to make this social action of the Church in Calcutta relevant. At the same time we wish to award to Mother Teresa Sisters for their work in the city and to SIGNIS INDIA for its work in favor of peace and communal harmony through media and the film festival, says the 100 cities for peace media coordinator Irene Marcet from Barcelona, Spain.The International Award “PAX URBIS” will be conferred on the city of Calcutta on the concluding day of the four day MTIFF 2010 on 29 August.
The MTIFF director and Signis-Bengal president Mr. Sunil Lucas will meet Kolkata Mayor to brief him on the award and its implications, 11 August.

100 cities for Peace” is a social and civic movement without political side or economic interest which unifies local associations which would like to head a movement for obtaining the main objectives of the UN for the Millennium on the 5 continentsThe movement proposes to work together with a very special attention on issues like respect between cultures, removal of violence, promotion of the dignity of life, eradication of abject poverty, and to boost the full development of the human being, focusing on the education.
Main objectives of this international movement are to harness and support the experience and initiatives of public and private organizations focused on facing the social challenges in the millennium. They would also like to mobilize public opinion on a network of cities that hold social development as top priority. We want to be the spokesperson of theMost successful cities in this regard are show cased as an example of good practices for real projects on places with conflicts and human needs.

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Mother Teresa: Indian Citizen

KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) — Mother Teresa whose birth centenary being kept this month was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 26, 1910.  She arrived in Calcutta in 1929 and soon after India’s independence (15 August 1947) Mother Teresa became an Indian citizen on 14 December 1951.
This is what Mother Teresa says about herself: “By blood I am Albanian. My citizenship is Indian. I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the heart of Jesus.”
Mother Teresa received many national and international awards in recognition of her noble work for the poorest of the poor. The first award being Padmashri for distinguished service (1962),  then the Magsaysay Award the same year, Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971), Good Samaritan Award (1971), John F. Kennedy International Award (1971), Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International peace (1972), Nobel Peace Prize (1979), Bharat Ratna (1980),  Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award (1993) etc. were some of them.
Her official biography was authored by an Indian civil servant, Mr. Navin Chawla, and published in 1992. Currently, the Chief Election Commissioner of India, Mr Chawla is expected to speak at the Mother Teresa International Symposium scheduled to be held in Kolkata, 4 September 2010.However, Indian views on Mother Teresa were not uniformly favourable.

State Funeral for Mother, 13 Sept 1997

One of her critic Aroup Chatterjee, who was born and raised in Calcutta but now living in London, reports that “she was not a significant entity in Calcutta in her lifetime”. Further, Chatterjee blames Mother Teresa for promoting a negative image of his home city (Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict).
The Bharatiya Janata Party clashed with her over the Christian Dalits, but praised her in death, sending a representative to her funeral.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, on the other hand, opposed the Government’s decision to grant her a state funeral (13 September 1997). Its secretary Giriraj Kishore said that “her first duty was to the Church and social service was incidental” and accused her of favouring Christians and conducting “secret baptisms” of the dying.
But, in its front page tribute, Chennai based fortnightly Frontline (belonging to The Hindu newspaper group) dismissed these charges as “patently false” and said that they had “made no impact on the public perception of her work, especially in Calcutta”. Although praising her “selfless caring”, energy and bravery, the author of the tribute was critical of Mother Teresa’s public campaigning against abortion and that she claimed to be non-political when doing so.
More recently, the Kolkata based daily The Telegraph (Ananda Bazaar Patrika group) mentioned that “Rome has been asked to investigate if she did anything to alleviate the condition of the poor or just took care of the sick and dying and needed them to further a sentimentally moral cause.”

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