Nepal prays for Mother Teresa

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : There were no film festivals, exhibitions or special trains named after her. But the sisters at the Missionaries of Charity in Nepal remembered their founder, India’s “saint of the gutter” Mother Teresa, by holding a special mass for her and prayers.

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“In Kolkata, everyone knows of Mother Teresa and her house,” said Sister Brigitamann of Missionaries of Charity in Kathmandu. “But, in Nepal, very few people are aware of the Mother’s deeds and the significance this day holds.

“There are no special programmes in Nepal to celebrate her birth centenary. We are holding prayers in her memory.”

The Albania-born nun who took Indian citizenship and became famous worldwide for her work among the destitute, dying and orphans in Kolkata city, visited Nepal several times in the 1980s, said a 77-year-old Catholic priest, one of the few people left in Nepal today who have vivid memories of meeting her.

“The then king Birendra and the royal family gave her a warm welcome (even though Nepal was a Hindu state),” said the priest who declined to be named.

“I met her first in Kurseong in India in 1963. She struck me as a very humble woman, very dear to god. She showed her love of god by doing good for the sick and dying.”

Like in Kolkata, the Missionaries of Charity work in Kathmandu from a building named Shanti Bhavan – the abode of peace.

There is a branch in Pokhara as well as a contemplative mission for the nuns.

In Kathmandu, the nuns run two homes for the aged and dying. One of them is on the premises of the hallowed Hindu temple of Pashupatinath and visited regularly by Nepal’s former crown princess Himani.

There is also a Shishu Bhavan, as in Kolkata, where street children, mostly abandoned by their fathers, are cared for, and a school for destitute children with classes up to the fourth grade.

Nepal’s Christian community is tuning into Indian television channels for glimpses of the birth centenary celebrations worldwide and especially in Kolkata.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at [email protected])