Kolkata- Of Saints and Men

In Kolkata, everyone knows Mother so getting to her home was easy. The noise and chaos of the city vanish once you are in the alley leading to Mother House as the headquarters of Missionaries of Charity is popularly known.

Mother is IN

There is nothing to indicate that this place is a major pilgrimage center and tourist attraction.

The door leads to a small courtyard; there was no one around except for the lifelike statues of Mother Mary and Mother Teresa.  After some time an elderly nun came and directed me to the main hall which has the tomb of Mother and a small chapel.

No somber air about the tomb. This is a bright, cheery place.

The tomb is adorned with candles and flowers.  The altar is at the other end. The final resting place of the Mother stands out for its simplicity.

I see a group of novice nuns writing on pieces of paper and depositing it reverentially in a box.  These are prayer requests which are offered at the altar during the weekly mass.

Right next to the main hall is a small museum showcasing the remarkable journey of Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu from Macedonia to Saint Teresa.   The trademarked blue-bordered white saree,  rosary, and sandals are some of her personal items on display.

 Then I took a flight of stairs to see the room of Mother. The tiny spartan room has been preserved with her cot, desk and a bench. Everything is austere and utilitarian.

Back in the courtyard, I stand before the statue:

Her knobby feet caught my attention; I vaguely remember reading  Mother acquired this deformity from constantly wearing ill-fitting shoes.

Critics have questioned the functioning of the various centers under the Missionaries of Charity citing pathetic living conditions, inadequate medical facilities, staff, etc. They also have issues with her sainthood.  Hey, who are we to judge?

Nuns, volunteers, and visitors are coming in. I wanted to talk to a volunteer, but they all look very busy.  Another day begins at Mother House.