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Saturday, August 28, 2010 11:30:13 PM, IANS

President of India Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil receiving the first Commemorative Coin from Minister of Finance Pranab Mukherjee at the function of the Birth Centenary Celebrations of Bharat Ratna Mother Teresa in New Delhi on August 28, 2010.

Kolkatans shower Mother Teresa with love on centenary

Slumdwellers and admirers from abroad were among the thousands who poured into the Missionaries of Charity (MoC) headquarters  

New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil led the nation Saturday to pay tributes to Mother Teresa on her birth centenary and said there was an urgent need to attend to those sections the Nobel Peace Prize winning nun served -- the unloved and uncared in our families and societies.

Addressing a public meeting here to mark the centenary, Patil quoted Teresa's words from her Nobel acceptance speech: "Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."

"With these words Mother Teresa drew attention to situations of hunger of the poor and the hunger for love, for often loneliness can be worse than physical hunger," Patil said.

The meeting, organised by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) and other affiliated organisations, was attended by union ministers Pranab Mukherjee and Vayalar Ravi, Uttarakhand Governor Margaret Alva, diplomats, politicians and representatives of various religions.

Sister Prema, mother general of the Missionaries of Charity (MC), the order founded by Mother Teresa, and a large number of the MC sisters were also present on the occasion.

Patil said Mother Teresa was a social worker to the "core of her heart", attending to the poor, the abandoned and the dying. "Gandhiji may well have been speaking of Mother Teresa, when he said that where there is pure and active love for the poor, there is god also," the president added.

Describing the Kolkata nun as the "noblest of our times", Patil said: "She was truly the embodiment of the word Mother. It has been truly said that god cannot be everywhere and that is why he has created mother."

Recalling the course of the life of the Albania-born nun, who arrived in Kolkata in 1929 and became an Indian citizen, the president said: " Mother Teresa embraced India as India embraced her."

The people conferred on her their love and the nation honoured her with the highest award Bharat Ratna, she said.

Praising Mother Teresa's "mission, which began small and gradually established", Patil said: "The torch she lit brought light wherever she went, wherever her ideas permeated, wherever her homes were established, wherever her nuns working selflessly touched the lives of those around them."

"Mother Teresa reminded that in our own family, we may have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried and who would benefit from us giving them companionship and understanding, by simply pausing to listen, by giving of ourselves, by nursing the sick. This is so true in today's world."

Sister Prema, in a brief and touching felicitation to the founder of her religious order, said: "Mother may be smiling at us."

"She told us to make sacrifices in our life and spend even a paisa responsibly as we owed it to the society."

"Smile, gift a smile to the unloved," she added.




 

 

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