Tag Archives: Mother Teresa

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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Filed under Gezim Alpion, Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa

Prayer meet at Mother Teresa tomb for author Dominique LaPierre in coma

Prayer meet at Mother’s tomb, 29 June, 2012

KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – An inter-faith prayer meeting for popular author and esteemed friend ofCalcutta, Padma Bhushan awardee Mr Dominique LaPierre was held at the tomb of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Friday 29 June.

In an email addressed to those who attended the meet, LaPierre’s wife, also named Dominique, wrote that the writer fell and knocked his head on a sidewalk in their village Ramatuelle where they had gone to vote for the French Assembly elections. She said the knock on the head caused “severe cranium trauma”.

In the hospital, Dominique was put into an artificial coma to protect his vital functions and brain.

“After 12 days, he is now in the awakening phase. This can take weeks or even months,” Dominique wrote, 29 June.

Hoping for a “miracle”, the gathering of 40 odd well-wishers prayed for the “speedy recovery” of the author, who is affectionately known as “Dominique Dada” in Kolkata.

Long time Mother Teresa collaborator and well wisher of the Missionaries of Charity, Mr Dominique’s Kolkata connection includes his bestseller book ‘The City of JOY,’ which has gone into several language editions, and the first feature film on Mother Teresa, released in 1997 – “In the Name of God’s Poor”.

With his maxim, “what is not gifted (given) is lost,” a large portion of the royalties of his books have been ploughed back into his social service organizations in Calcutta and Bhopal, and the floating dispensaries in the Sunderbans…

Mr. Sunil Lucas, president of SIGNIS India (Catholic association for radio, television and cinema) brought together some of LaPierre’s friends and acquaintances in the city to pray and reminisce their association with Dominique.

Members of Dominique’s charity organizations Udayan and Sheesh, Trinamul Congress Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien and Jesuit Father Gaston Roberge, Signis Bengal president Fr Sunil Rozario and Urmi Basu of New Light, a Kolkata NGO attended the meet.

“I’ve known Dominique Lapierre for 32 years. To me, he is not only a friend but like an elder brother. His wife has been calling me every day and I told her about our meeting today,” said Brother Gaston Dayanand, the Swiss missionary working in Uluberia on whom Patrick Swayze’s character in City of Joy was based, standing in front of the tomb of Mother Teresa.

The programme which started at 6.15 pm went beyond 7.15 pm leaving the event to be a very private and intimate affair around Mother’s tomb, even without the participation of the Missionaries of Charity Brothers nor Sisters.

Dominique, 82 years old, was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour, on the Republic Day, 26 January 2008.


Filed under Dominique Lapierre, Mother Teresa, Mother Teresa and the media, Mother Teresa Film Festival, The City of Joy, Udayan

Dominique LaPierre critically ill

Padma Bhushan D. LaPierre

KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – The popular author and esteemed friend of Calcutta, Padma Bhushan awardee Mr Dominique Lapierre is critically ill in his home country France.

“I am extremely sad to inform that our friend Dominique is critically ill,” says his long time friend in Kolkata, Jesuit Fr Gaston Roberge.

“Dominique fell down at his home and has been in coma for several days now, and is on ventilator and other artificial life support systems,” he adds.

The doctors, says Fr Roberge, are of the opinion that his illness affecting the brain is terminal.

Long time Mother Teresa collaborator and well wisher of the Missionaries of Charity, Mr Dominique’s Kolkata connection includes his bestseller book ‘The City of JOY,’ which has gone into several language editions and his Mother Teresa film (the first feature film on Mother Teresa, released in 1997) “In the Name of God’s Poor“.

With his maxim, “what is not given is lost,” a large portion of the royalties of his books have been ploughed back into his social service NGO Udayan in Calcutta, and the floating dispensaries in the Sunderbans…

“We need urgently to hold a prayer meet at the tomb of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta for the speedy recovery of her friend,” says Dominique LaPierre adimirer and city film maker Mr Sunil Lucas currently president of SIGNIS India (Catholic Association for Radio, TV & Cinema).

The prayer service in collaboration with Alliance France, Udayan, SIGNIS Bengal and several other well wishers is scheduled for Friday, 29 June.

The interfaith prayer meet for Dominique will be held at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s tomb at 6.00 pm on Friday, 29 June 2012.

Praises galore for “controversial” Mother Teresa film


Filed under Dominique Lapierre, Mother Teresa, Uncategorized

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.


Filed under Dipika Das, Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Dalai Lama, Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa, Mother Teresa birthday

NRI Kolkatan’s Mother Teresa fixation

Mother Teresa served the poorest of the poor in Calcutta from 1929 to 1997.

KOLKATA (C.M. Paul) – I got an email from Aroup Chatterjee (398-400 Mare Street, London), the quintessential Mother Teresa critic. It was a copy of the letter he sent to The Telegraph Calcutta letters editor bemoaning Kolkata loosing out the recent cricket match to Bangalore… and the reason for Calcutta’s bad name, according to him, is Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who died in 1997.
It is true, Aroup Chatterjee is an NRI physician and author working in England. In his book “Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict” (2003, Meteor Books Kolkata) he accuses Mother Teresa of unfairly damaging Calcutta’s reputation. Chatterjee also claims that Mother Teresa exaggerated the work she did among the poor, that she failed to use the very large amount of money donated to her on helping the poor and that the medical care given to people in homes run by Missionaries of Charity was grossly inadequate. Chatterjee’s criticism inspired a 1994 documentary named Hell’s Angel that was shown on Channel 4, UK. The documentary was written by another well-known critic of Mother Teresa (The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in theory and practice, Verson, London 1995), Christopher Hitchens, who co-produced it with Tariq Ali. Chatterjee and Hitchens were the only two official hostile witnesses to Church procedures for the beatification of Mother Teresa in 2003.
This is what  a leading Indian national newspaper says announcing a competition to celebrate a day in the life of India, “Cows sunbathing on expressways. Bare-bodied sadhus on cell phones. Chappal combats in Parliament. Spitting and urinating in public places. Chaos, golmaal, jugaad… all pieces of a vast multi-cultural mosaic called India.” Read more: Let’s celebrate a day in the life of India – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Lets-celebrate-a-day-in-the-life-of-India/articleshow/7415498.cms#ixzz1CyTRtKIM

Living on Mother Teresa Sarani footpath, 2011

French Canadian but Calcutta based Indian film theory guru Gaston Roberge lists the city’s image-makers, like writer Mircea Eliade (Bengali Night) and film-maker Louis Malle (Calcutta). It has been called ‘a city of palaces,’ ‘a hell of a place’ (Joseph Lelyveld), ‘the black whole,’ a sample of the ‘sad tropics’ (Claude Levi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques, 1955), ‘the unintended city,’ ‘the city of the poor’ (Joy Sen) and ‘the city of joy,’ (Dominique Lapierre). ((Roberge GASTON, Images of Calcutta from Black Hole to Balck Box, in J. RACINE (Ed.), Calcutta 1981, Concept Publishing Company, New Delhi 1990, 15-27.)

Aroup Chatterjee left Calcutta for London in 1985.

In addition, the phrase ‘Oh! Calcutta!’, used by a Broadway revue of that name (1969), was borrowed from the caption of a painting by French artist Trouille (1889-1975), who made a vulgar pun on its name. Neither the play nor the painting had anything to do with the city. Clovis Trouille painted a naked woman reclining on a couch, and seen from her back. The caption read: ‘Oh! Calcutta!’ (‘Oh, quell cul t’as!’ or ‘Oh, what a lovely arsehole you have!’)
Late Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi called Calcutta ‘the dying city.’ Though Mother Teresa went for her first overseas visit only after 30 years of work in India, in 1960, she is maligned for Calcutta’s image as the “poverty and misery” capital of the world. Even though Mother Teresa started her work over 60 years ago, you can still get a feel of what it must have been like in those days.
Just take a walk from Chittaranjan Hospital bus stop on CIT Road, turn right at the Don Bosco Circle, walk along the Park Circus Maidan (with new wall and toilet facility) again turn right at the Park Circus 7 point crossing on to New Park Street (Mother Teresa Sarani) upto Mullick Bazar (Park Street and Lower Circular Road crossing)  any time of the day, but especially between 7 pm and 9 am! That’s where the humanity breeds, along cows and goats, bandar wallah’s monkies and poultry reared under hawker’s carts! Families still live under rows of plastic sheets, naked children play around and defecate on foot path. Don’t tell me Mother Teresa caused this! This is Park Street (supposedly elite street) in 2011. Wake up Kolkata!
This is what Khushwant Singh, in Aroup’s description “the maverick Indian journalist, raconteur, socialite and political animal (later MP)” says giving the reason for Aroup’s anti Teresa penchant. Singh reviewing Aroup’s book on Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict says: “Why did he do it? By his own admission, Mother Teresa refused to grant him an interview or answer any of his questions.”
Aroup, let’s be frank… what have you and me done for this crap city? If we can’t walk our talk, just keep our trap shut… besides, maligning the dead is not our culture!


Filed under Aroup Chatterjee, Calcutta, Kolkata, Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa

No deity will preside on that damned, disputed and desecrated land


Kar Sevaks celebrating demolition of Babri Masjid, 6 December 1992


(C.M. Paul) – Come 28th September 2010, the over due and much delayed verdict will be pronounced on Ram Temple-Babri Masjid land. Crores of tax payers’ money has been wasted protecting that cursed land, past 18 years! Even today a three layer security bandobust is in place!
Both parties (sections of Hindus and Muslims) are determined to build a house for god (allah) on that damn, disputed and desecrated spot where on 6 December 1992, thousands of Kar Sevaks led by none other than India’s “prime minister in waiting” (L.K. Advaniji) tore down the Muslim hallowed spot calling on god Ram. In its wake they allegedly killed 17 Muslims in Ayodhya and burnt down 450 shops, punishing Muslims for the sins of their forefathers.
Whatever the verdict comes now and whomever it favours to build a house for which ever god… no deity worth his name (Ram or Allah) will deign to preside on that cursed spot soaked in blood and where seeds of hatred have been sown over the years…
I am reminded of what Mother Teresa of Calcutta, as a concerned citizen of India, wanted to do when there was the post-demolition national consultation on what to do with that land! She approached the then archbishop of Calcutta Dr Henry D’Souza (now archbishop emeritus living in Kolkata) to accompany her to New Delhi and make her proposal to then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao to lease the disputed property to her so that she could serve the poorest of the poor of all communities from there. She wanted to spread love and compassion where once blood and tears soaked the earth in which seeds of hatred were planted! After all she had the track record of doing the same from Kalighat Nirmal Hriday (Home for the Dying) from the sanctum sanctorum of Kolkata’s presiding deity Ma Kali, since 1952.
But the wise archbishop killed Mother’s enthusiasm considering it a folly stating it as inopportune proposal and refused to accompany Mother Teresa.
Two years ago (2008) in a conversation with me, the aging church leader recalled the ensuing bloodshed and said with certain regret: “How I could have changed the course of India’s history, if I had then heeded to Mother Teresa!”
All is not lost… still wisdom can prevail, if men and women of good will from both warring factions agree to spread love and compassion from a newly constructed facility on that disputed spot, call it what you may. Why not call it the Ram-Babri-Teresa Temple!

NB: See how Haindava Keralam has misquoted and distorted my writing to promote their agenda…. http://www.haindavakeralam.com/teresa-dreamt-claiming-hk8694

Photo: Courtesy http://www.mubasshir.blogspot.com




Filed under Ayodhya, Ayodhya Verdict, Babri Masjid demolition, Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa, Mother Teresa had plans for Ayodhya, Muslims, Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Ram Temple