12/15/2004, 00.00
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Kolkata unveils statue and names street in honour of Mother Teresa

Kolkata (AsiaNews) – The city of Kolkata has named a street after Mother Teresa. Last Saturday, city officials and religious leaders along with about a thousand people unveiled a bronze statue of Mother Teresa on Park Street where—at No 90—are located the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity. The street, which is in the heart of the city and has many hotels and stores, will from now on be known as 'Mother Teresa Sarani' (Mother Teresa Road).

"I am extremely happy that the street was renamed in honour of the Mother," Mgr Lucas Sirkar, Archbishop of Kolkata, told AsiaNews. "This was entirely the initiative of [. . .] the Municipal Corporation of Kolkata."

The Archbishop said that "anyone passing by this street must remember Mother Teresa and do something good for God." He added that "the Archbishop's House is on 32 Park Street, so we too have a new address. Our official residence is now 32 Teresa Sarani".

Many churches and the college of the Sisters of Loreto are also located on the long road where Mother Teresa taught for many years.

Speaking at the ceremony, Kolkata Mayor Subrata Mukherjee recalled his embarrassment last year when he was in Naples to unveil a statue and name a street in honour of the Albanian nun (Kolkata and Naples are twin cities). Now, he is no longer embarrassed.

Mr Mukherjee explained that "it is our policy to name streets in honour of outstanding human beings [. . .] Park Street has long been associated with Mother Teresa [. . .] and has been the hub of her activities. We have blessed ourselves by renaming Park Street as Mother Teresa Sarani."

Sister Nirmala Joshi, the Missionaries of Charity's superior general who now leads the order's 4,000 nuns and sisters spread throughout the world, also attended the ceremony. She thanked Kolkata authorities for "Kolkata," she said, "was the Mother's most beloved city, the city she called home."

The statue portrays Mother Teresa, her hands folded in the traditional Indian greeting namaste (literally 'I humbly bow to you'). It is the work of renowned Indian sculptor Sanatan Dinda. Placed on a 3.5 m (12-ft) granite pedestal, Blessed Teresa's bust weighs 200 kg (440 lb) and is valued at INR 250,000 (€ 4200, US$ 5700). (NC)

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