For Sister Showrina, in charge of Mother Teresa’s home, Missionaries of Charity at Tadiwalla road, it was a special moment when Pope Francis announced that Mother Teresa would be officially declared a saint on September 4 this year.
“I still have vivid memories about her. In fact, I used to forget all that I wanted to ask when I entered Mother Teresa’s room in Kolkata during the 1980s. Her smile was so loving and she was such a motherly figure that I just felt like sitting there,” Sister Showrina told The Indian Express.
A similar feeling prevails here among the nuns and priests who have expressed sheer joy at the decision of canonization of Mother Teresa on September 4. In Pune, there are three centres of Missionaries of Charity, catering to 345 people (mostly women) who are sick, mentally retarded, orphaned, dying, homeless and abandoned by society.
At the Wakad centre of Mother Teresa’s home, in-charge Sister Gonzaga recalls how she would always greet everyone.
Sister Thomas, in-charge at Mother Teresa’s home at Chinchwad, speaks about how she accompanied her at many places to set up new foundations. “We are all very happy about our Mother Teresa being made a saint,” they said.
“There never was a feeling of being lonely. She always had time for us. When she was busy writing, Mother Teresa would often pause, look up at us with a smile, place her hand on our head and talk to us,” Sister Showrina says.
Some inmates of Mother Teresa’s home at Tadiwalla Road, who have been staying here for more than 20 years, said they had heard about Mother Teresa to be made a saint. “We never met her but wish we had,” said an inmate.
Mother Teresa’s simplicity had a lasting impression, recalls Bishop Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Poona. “I was a professor of theology at Dnyandeep Vidyapeeth when I first met Mother Teresa after she received the Nobel Prize at her home in Kolkata. She had no airs about her. Her home was so simple – just a bench and chairs. Even at the airport when I next met her, she was alone,” says the Bishop who has planned a spiritual preparation at the diocese culminating with a Holy Mass to mark the occasion of Mother Teresa’s canonization.
Mother Teresa had founded a sisterhood that runs several such homes across the country. She died in 1997 at the age 87 and was beatified in 2003, which is the first step to sainthood.
“This is one moment that I will never forget as it was like the entire world had come on the streets of Rome to celebrate the occasion,” Father Malcolm Sequeira, Vicar General of Diocese of Poona, said. “I met her as young boy when she had come to Vasai to attend a programme. There was this aura of holiness and simplicity about her that I felt I was in the presence of God,” Father Malcolm said, adding that now she could be taken as a patron saint, especially for those who are most in need of God’s mercy.