Kolkata, (IANS) On the eve of her canonisation in Vatican City where Pope Francis will confer sainthood on Mother Teresa, people on Saturday braved the rain to visit the city’s “Mother House” — the Nobel Laureate’s final resting place.
The old building where the globe’s most famous nun once lived, has been a pilgrimage for Christians.
With just some hours remaining to her sainthood, people have been making a beeline to pay homage to Mother Teresa who attracted worldwide admiration for her services to the poor and the downtrodden.
She has never seen Mother, but it was her work that inspired Amanda Kreuzer — a Swiss citizen — to leave her native land and settle in Kolkata.
“I came here eight years back. Mother was dead when I was here. But her book and services drew me to visit Kolkata taking three months’ leave from work. After that, I came down now not to be part of this show, but to settle down here because of my love for Mother Teresa,” Amanda told IANS.
Now a pensioner, the 60-year-old worked as a medicine assistant in Andermatt — a mountain village in Switzerland — before eventually moving to Kolkata.
“I feel Mother also had no religion. She only knew to love and spread love. Help those who needed it without any colour,” she said.
Farhat Abbas, a shopkeeper near the Mother House, vividly remembers his encounter with Mother Teresa.
“I met Mother many times as she used to take this route while going to her house,” Abbas said.
“I have seen her, bent like the way these nuns (pointing at two of her disciples who got down from a cab and took the same route to the house) and on her way if any needy came across her, she would stop then and there and help.
“She was very fleet footed. She had no air about her. She used to entertain all kinds of people at anytime of the day,” said Abbas who along with many of his ilk hopes to do brisk business throughout the week.
A Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1979, Mother Teresa’s elevation to Catholicism’s celestial pantheon comes on the eve of the 19th anniversary of her death in the Kolkata slums with which she is synonymous.
The revered yet controversial nun had her sceptics too, who feel she has not done anything significant to be anointed so high.
Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, who served as Kolkata mayor from 2005 to 2010, recently said: “She had no significant impact on the poor of this city.”