St. Teresa of Kolkata exhibit coming to cathedral Oct. 2-9
An exhibit on the life of St. Teresa of Kolkata that has traveled the world this year in which Mother Teresa, who ministered to the poorest of the poor in the late-20th century, became a saint, is coming to the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland next month.
A Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Oct. 9 in the cathedral, with the rector, the Very Rev. James Matthews, presiding.
For many, the image of the tiny sister, clad in her distinctive white-and-blue-striped sari, is a familiar one. For the next generation, however, she is a figure in history books and of prayer cards
"I think they're going to learn about her life," said Sister Philomena, one of the four Missionaries of Charity who serve in Richmond. "Many of them don't know Mother Teresa."
Those who come to the exhibit will learn, too, about work that continues 19 years after her death. They will hear it firsthand from the sisters, who plan to be at the cathedral from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 2-9.
They will hear "how we take care of the poor and the many things we do for the poor and the sick," said Sister Philomena. "We hope to explain our work, and her life."
Mother Teresa, born in Albania, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
While she is known officially as St. Teresa of Kolkata after her Sept. 4 canonization, her sisters may have a hard time remembering that.
"For us, she will always be our Mother," Sister Philomena said.
The four sisters who minister in Richmond are from India — "two from the south, two from the north," said Sister Philomena, who has been in the Missionaries of Charity for 28 years. "All of us know Mother," she said.
If you are a parishioner at St. Mark Parish in Richmond — or live in the neighborhood — it's likely you will get to know Mother Teresa's sisters. In their 10 years of service in Richmond, the sisters have taught catechism, preparing children and adults to receive the sacraments.
They also visit families, many of them Hispanic, in the neighborhood. "We give them a pamphlet, explain the rosary and pray with them," Sister Philomena said. They also bring statues, of Our Lady which visit for a while, before moving to another family.
The sisters pray, Sister Philomena said, "in our broken Spanish."
Those white and blue-striped habits are also a familiar site where day laborers await work, near the major home improvement stores from Richmond to Berkeley. The sisters bring a hot meal, and prayer, once a week.
And the sisters are no strangers at the jails, prisons and detention centers in the East Bay, where they bring hope to those who are incarcerated. At the women's prison in Dublin, for example, the sisters prepared the prisoners for First Communion and Confirmation.
Sister Philomena refers to her students as "the group of ladies."
The sisters live humbly, emphasizing the service they provide to the poor.
"It's beautiful work," said Sister Philomena.
Mercy, poor center of canonization events
VATICAN CITY — The poor, the suffering and those who minister to them will be at the center of celebrations leading up to the canonization of Mother Teresa of Kolkata. The main event — the canonization Mass on Sept. 4 was to be a "family feast" for the poor, with a musical, Masses and prayer vigils to precede her canonization, according to programs published by the Vatican and by the Missionaries of Charity, the order she founded.
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