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Angelic soul

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa with children at a shelter home. (File photo)

I have had the opportunities to see the humanitarian work of Mother Teresa’s Mission in some countries. In Chandigarh (India), the Home of Charity founded by Mother Teresa provided refuge to over 300 inmates, when I visited it in 1986.

Many were tiny babies, just a few days old, abandoned by unwed mothers. There was a cradle outside the door. Any mother, who could not keep her baby, could leave the child in the cradle, ring the bell and depart. At the Home, these babies were always dressed in pretty clothes.  

There were also about deformed 100 children, whose parents either did not want them or could not afford to look after them. They had elongated faces, twisted noses, abnormal eyes, twisted arms or legs.  The Sisters at the Mission nurtured and fed them. The Sisters also looked after the lepers and the blind. There were about 100 old people, who were alone or, whose families could not afford to care for them.

In Sao Paulo (Brazil), Mother Teresa’s Home was located in a large slum, managed by 10 Sisters, mainly from Europe, when I visited it in 1997. The Sisters cared for 600-700 unwanted babies, deformed children and sick, terminally old men, women.

Though some of the rich people of Sao Paulo offered to help relocate the Home to more elegant surroundings, the Sisters opted to stay put in the slum, because they asserted, that is where their work was. In Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), the Sisters had cared for unwanted babies for decades, when I paid some visits there, during 1999 and 2002. Many of the orphan-inmates were teenagers, helping the Sisters manage the Home.

There was a clinically clean room, with pretty cradles for babies, abandoned by their parents. There were clean beds and playgrounds for about 100 orphans aged between 3 and 7 years. They would all break into a joyful dance at the commencement of African folk music.

In Abidjan (Cote D’Ivoire), the Home was an oasis of peace, in a country rent asunder with a civil war, when I was based there in 2003. Despite the curfews, the Sisters of Charity continued to serve the sick, elderly and orphans relentlessly.

All these Homes, amongst the 760 in 139 countries, were managed by dedicated Sisters, from across the world, who receive no salary, just two to three (sarees) dresses annually and eat a basic meal with the inmates. The astonishing commitment of these Sisters is an inspiration.

Rajendra Aneja,
Mumbai, India

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