The centenary on Aug 26 of the birth of Nobel Prize winner Mother Teresa could intensify the contention about her remains and debate about her legacy. Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha wants the body repatriated to Albania, but India insists the nun is an Indian citizen resting in her own country. Macedonia could also lay claim to the remains as the nun was born to Albanian parents in Skopje. Then part of the Ottoman Empire, the city is now the capital of Macedonia.
Born Agnesë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, she journeyed to Calcutta (now Kolkata ) in 1929 and dedicated her life to serving people from the lowest strata of society. In 1950 she founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata. For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries. By the 1970s she was internationally famed as a humanitarian and advocate for the poor and helpless, due in part to a documentary and book Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India's highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, in 1980 for her humanitarian work. She has been praised by many individuals, governments and organizations. She has, however, also faced diverse criticism. It includes objections by various individuals and groups to the proselytizing focus of her work, which includes a strong stance against contraception and abortion, a belief in the spiritual goodness of poverty and alleged baptisms of the dying. Medical journals also criticized the standard of medical care in her hospices, and concerns were raised about the opaque nature in which donated money was spent. Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and at the time of her death on 5 Sep 1997 it was operating 610 missions in 123 countries. The order operates hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; children's and family counseling programs; and orphanages and schools. The centenary events include observances by the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, and a ceremony at which the Mother Teresa International and Millennium Award will be conferred posthumously on Bangladesh father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, his daughter, will be invited to receive the award. The prime minister received the Mother Teresa Lifetime Achievement award in 2006. The United States postal service will honor Mother Teresa humanitarian work by issuing a stamp on featuring a portrait of the nun by award-winning artist Thomas Blackshear II of Colorado Springs. ARTICLE SUPPLIED BY WORLD NEWS FORECAST CORRESPONDENT C.BALAJI, WHO IS AVAILABLE FOR FREELANCE ASSIGNMENTS IN INDIA AND THE REGION. email: [email protected]
Date written/update: 2010-08-26