09/05/2005, 00.00
INDIA
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Sr Nirmala Joshi: Kolkata today celebrates Mother Teresa's legacy

by Nirmala Carvalho
Crowds take part in the celebrations to honour the Blessed on the eight anniversary of her death. Many people from other religions volunteer for the 'Special Meal' for the poor. "Mother Teresa is still alive," says Sister Nirmala. "Her legacy: everyone needs love and to feel loved".

Kolkata (AsiaNews) – "Today is a beautiful day; now it is the time to renew our wish and resolution to walk in love and bring peace to others and live in harmony in the world," said Nirmala Joshi, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, at the Mother House, Kolkata, in an exclusive interview with AsiaNews on the occasion of the Feast Day of the Blessed Mother of Teresa of Kolkata.

Today, September 5, is the eighth anniversary since the Blessed's death. Sister Nirmala, who took the helm of the Order that Mother Teresa founded, spoke about the celebration of this day in Kolkata, where "Mother Teresa is some kind of demigod".

At 6 am, Mgr Henry D'Souza, former Archbishop of Kolkata, celebrate mass, she said. "The service was overflowing with people of different faith. All came to pray to the Mother as well as intercede for her canonisation".

Mother Teresa is seen "as some kind of demigod even among non Christians. People continue to venerate her and talk about her as if she were still present and could appear at any time," Sister Nirmala noted.

"It is surprising," she added, "how everyone feels the need to love and to feel loved: this is the Mother's legacy".

A 'Special Meal' was served to the poor to commemorate Mother Teresa's love and devotion towards them. Volunteers from all faiths pitched in.

"For these people," said the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, "working together with us is seen as a great privilege; they put lots of love and joy in their work".

The initiative began when Mother Teresa was beatified on October 19, 2003, in accordance with Pope John Paul II's wishes. "Since then the 'Special Meal' is served every year in all the houses of the Order," she said.

According to Sister Nirmala, both Mother Teresa and "her dear friend" John Paul II "are happy at this moment and looking down on us from Heaven".

Mother Teresa's cause of canonisation is under way. "Everyday we get hundreds of letters from people who say they have been blessed through her intercession, but we are waiting for a confirmed miracle. We have faith . . . it will happen; it will happen".

An investigation is under way in Mexico, "but from Kolkata we send all the papers we received," Sister Nirmala said.

She is at peace though with the difficult task of pursuing the Mother's mission. "With the help of God, nothing is impossible; with His grace everything can be done. In the last eight years, from Heaven Mother has made sure not only that we get her love but also God's protection. We feel her presence; she is our North Star."

Sister Nirmala said that the Missionaries of Charity have seen their ranks swell as the number of vocations rose.

"Our commitment is renewed every day through God's grace; life goes on in the sign of love," she added.

"I have never felt the need to imitate anyone in my life. Mother Teresa always said that every human being is a special and unique gift of God," she pointed out. "Comparisons are thus out of place. She is and shall always be our Mother".

The Superior concluded saying that "now and forever we all have a friend in heaven who prays for us".

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