09/05/2016, 16.39
SRI LANKA
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Sri Lankan orphans saved by the Missionaries of Charity celebrate the Mother (Photos)

by Melani Manel Perera

Liturgies of thanksgiving were celebrated this morning in every diocese for the canonisation of Mother Teresa. In Colombo, the Missionaries of Charity live in the ‘Home of peace’, which takes in the sick, the disabled and orphans. On 11 September, an official celebration will be held to honour the saint.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Thanksgiving Masses were held today in all the homes of the Missionaries of Charity in Sri Lanka to honour Saint Teresa of Calcutta, who was canonised yesterday in St Peter's Square by Pope Francis.

Some women, saved by the Sisters of Mother Teresa when they were children and taken in by the Shanthi Niwasa (Home of Peace) in Mutwall, a district in the capital, told AsiaNews: "We are very happy because today is the feast of our Amma (Mother)".

The Missionaries held spiritual events in honour of the founder of their congregation in the dioceses of Galle, Kandy, Kurunegala, Trincomalee, Vavuniya and Jaffna. In the Diocese of Columbus, the Sisters welcomed scores of faithful, volunteers, sick, disabled and orphans for this purpose.

Mass began at Shanthi Niwasa at 6.30 am (local time), officiated by Fr Leo Perera, director of Semata Sarana charity centre, along with five other priests. The service was celebrated in three languages: Sinhala, Tamil and English.

In his homily, Fr Leo said that everyone should take Mother Teresa as an example. "She worked for the needy. Sometimes she reproached world leaders who wasted time arguing about what to do. She said to them, 'In the meantime I work for these poor’."

The priest added that "anyone can visit patients and do something for the poor. But this is different from the love that Mother Teresa showed. She loved the poorest with a great love". The example of this love is expressed in the work done by the Missionaries worldwide.

Boniface Tennakoon, 73, has lived at Colombo’s ‘Home of peace’ for three years. He noted that ahead of the canonisation, the facility held a novena of prayer, with the recitation of the Rosary and liturgies every day.

Anna Mary, Mary Shanthi and Ruwani are three girls, now young women, abandoned by their parents and taken in by the Missionaries.

Sureka Jayamali, another orphan, is happy to see the holy nun of Calcutta proclaimed saint. "Only Mother gave a home to innocent orphan children like me; otherwise, we would be living on the streets. But today we live in peace and serenity. "

Mudhuka came to the nuns when she was four. Today she is 21. "Although our Mother is no more, it is a great privilege to live with the Sisters of Saint Teresa."

The mother superior of Shanthi Niwasa added that on 11 September, the official celebration for the canonisation of Mother will be held in the parish of St John the Baptist in Mutwall.

The date was chosen to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the church. The parish also has a special meaning for Mother Teresa. It is the community that she visited the most when she stayed in Sri Lanka for a while in 1986.

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