The United States has issued a postal stamp honouring Mother
Teresa "the diminutive Roman Catholic nun and honorary US citizen
who served the sick and destitute of India for nearly 50 years."
Designed by award-winning artist Thomas Blackshear II, the 44-cent
stamp was released Sunday, the 13th anniversary of Mother Teresa's
death, at a special ceremony held at the Basilica of the National
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.
"Often, stamps are referred to as a nation's 'calling cards'
because they reach a national, and even an international
audience," said Postmaster General John Potter in dedicating the
"They focus attention on subjects our country regards with respect
and affection, and that is certainly true of Mother Teresa, who
believed so deeply in the innate worth and dignity of humankind
and worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor, sick, orphaned and
"That's why today I am so very proud that our country, after
making her an honorary citizen in 1996, is honoring Mother Teresa
with such a lasting memorial."
When Mother Teresa, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in
1950, accepted the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, she did so "in the name
of the poor, the hungry, the sick and the lonely," and convinced
the organizers to donate to the needy the money normally used to
fund the awards banquet.
Well respected worldwide, she successfully urged many of the
world's business and political leaders to give their time and
resources to help those in need.
US President Ronald Reagan presented Mother Teresa with the
Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, the same year she began
work on behalf of AIDS sufferers in the US and other countries.
In 1997, US Congress awarded Mother Teresa the Congressional Gold
Medal for her "outstanding and enduring contributions through
humanitarian and charitable activities."
Albania born Mother Teresa became a citizen of India in 1948. She
died in Kolkata Sep 5, 1997. Her beatification was presided over
by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003, in Saint Peter's
Basilica, Rome. The cause of her canonisation continues and awaits
the verification of a second miracle.