HUNDREDS OF miles away from Rome, members of the Darjeeling branch of Lay Missionaries of Charity (LMC) on Sunday took an 8-km ride on the iconic Darjeeling toy train to retrace the key moment in Mother Teresa’s life in 1946, when she received the “call within the call” that changed her life, and the lives of million of others.
“We wished to experience what Mother Teresa must have felt during that time of September 10, 1946 when she got the ‘call within the call’ during her trip from the plains (NJP-Siliguri) to Darjeeling and her life’s course changed forever,” Father Peter Lingdam, LMC’s Darjeeling Branch Director, said. “Today’s ride in the toy train is symbolic. Maybe some of us will also be enlightened like her,” he added.
Born on August 26, 1910, as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu at Skopje in Macedonia, Mother Teresa, after arriving in Kolkata in 1929, had travelled to Darjeeling to join the Loreto novitiate. On September 10, 1946, during this journey to Darjeeling in the toy train, Mother received what she termed the “call within the call” that led to the formation of the Missionaries of Charity.
“Mother Teresa was in Darjeeling for a number of years. She received her novitiate here in Loreto church and also became a nun. So, the hills have an automatic connect with the Mother. Hence, it is only proper that we too celebrate her sainthood,” Lingadam said. He added that work in villages for the “poor and the needy” epitomised that she wasn’t just “our Mother, but of the country, the needy, poor and homeless”.
“The Mother saw the vision of the Almighty in every human being and spread the message of love, peace and unity,” said Father Alexander Gurung, spokesperson for Darjeeling Diocese.
Lay Missionaries of Charity is an international association of ‘lay persons’ (married and single) adhering to the spirit of Missionaries of Charity.
Day-long programmes were held in the hills on Sunday, coinciding with the canonisation.