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.


26 thoughts on “Kolkata- Of Saints and Men

  1. Great post on the Mother! In my opinion works of love that brought comfort to people in need should not criticized. Albert Schweitzer who helped many people also was criticized for his labour of love in Africa. Thank you for sharing your pictures and thoughts with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think there are many people doing good work all over the world without any expectations or media attention. Mother Teresa is an easy target because of her popularity. The world needs people like Mother Teresa and Albert Schweitzer.
      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m surprised by reading your post. Looking at the kind of persona she was, I presumed that her place will be bigger and better. It looks like any other place. Maybe this reflects her simplicity or apathy of authorities! Thanks for sharing your explorations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Having seen a couple of grand tombs I was also surprised to find the modest unadorned structure. It could be the right way to remember her. A most a humbling experience! Thank you.


  3. A wonderful post! It’s very neat that you got to see this place, and show it to us.
    Whatever anyone thinks of any religion, as a human being she did a very large share of humanitarian work.
    I’m with you! Who are we to judge?
    Excellent post, Sidran!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your engaging post has given me so much to consider. One of which is how we view public figures: the blind faith we often place in them to ‘fix’ our problems, the absurd ideals we hold them to, and our desire to want them to be gods or saints or demons rather than complex human beings influenced by their beliefs and experiences as they move in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for taking us on this tour of Mother Teresa’s special place ~ and it was comforting to hear/read your words while at the same time being able to see your photos. It takes a special soul to reach out and help the unfortunate and poor, especially when you have so little as did Mother Teresa. I learn from this post of your, thank you, Sidran. Wish you many continued and safe travels.


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