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.
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 »
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
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
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
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.