Mangaluru: Not Just Catholics, Mother Teresa Homes also Serve Hindus/Muslims-So Why are ‘They’ Talking Crap?
Mangaluru: No doubt that Mother Teresa, was a Mother to the Motherless! irrespective of religion, caste, creed and residence, the Missionaries of Charity started by Mother Teresa in India, also and many more around the world cater to the poor, living selflessly dedicated to helping them. The RSS and VHP may have made up their minds when it comes to Mother Teresa’s work, but even a quick visit to the Missionaries of Charity homes across India is enough for one to realize the aim and motive of their work.
Women in their 80s, and babies as young as a month old, live at the Missionaries of Charity Mother Teresa Homes- these homes receive a constant flow of people coming in search of help, shelter or just plain food – and for that matter no one gets turned away. Most of the inmates at these homes are women, who come here with no hope. According to a care-taker , who says that “Working with them is difficult because they have suffered not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well,”
I made a visit to the Mother Teresa Home in Mangaluru located on Sturrock Road- earlier the Home was located at Vas Lane-Falnir, but two years back it was shifted to this new location at a land donated by Mrs Saldanha. Meeting the Superior at this home I gathered some information , but she insisted that I don’t take any photographs for the privacy of the inmates and nuns. At the earlier Home there were over 50 inmates comprising of women and men, but at this new location mostly women are taken in – there are 27 women, majority of them Hindus and one Muslim, and two men at this new location.
Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity/Home for the Poor in Mangaluru was established in the year 1995. Their convent was Mother Theresa’s Home for dying destitute situated at the 2nd Cross of Vaslane at Falnir. They came to this place in 1997. Since then so many dying destitute have experienced the caring and loving touch of Jesus through them. The donors of this site were Miss Agnes and Stanly William Pinto. The house donated by Miss Agnes at Lower Bendur was inaugurated by Blessed Teresa on 15th August 1995. She lived there with the sisters for six days. Stanly William Pinto gave his property including the house at Vas lane. A new spacious house built on this site was inaugurated on 5th May 1998. Later in the year 2013, the Home was shifted and built at a new location on Sturrock Road.
Their Mission is to love. Therefore, their doors are open to destitutes, those who are rejected by families due to addiction to drinks, drugs, smoking or other vices. The Home welcomes with open arms those who are sick and bed ridden and are forsaken by the family. At present they are blessed with 27 destitute, Catholics, Hindus and Muslims. “We don’t look at what religion you belong to when you come here. We only do what our Mother has told us,” said the superior at the home quoting Mother Teresa herself saying, “There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim becomes a better Muslim, Catholic becomes a better Catholic. We believe our work should be our example to people.”
“We don’t serve people based on their religion, we serve them because we see God in them,” said the superior. Though there is daily Mass celebrated in a small chapel in the home, those that do not belong to the Catholic faith are not forced to participate. Apart from providing food and medicine to these inmates at the home, they are also provided with physio-therapy classes, exercises and many activities.No one has ever been forced into conversion, although the saffron group members claim that Mother Teresa’s service would have been good – But it used to have one objective, to convert the person, who was being served, into a Christian. These allegations are absolutely wrong. The Missionaries of Charity, of which Mother Teresa was the founder, have homes in countries all over the world and not just in India.
The homes served, and still serve, the destitute, the hungry and the poor, irrespective of their religion. Those who have worked with her have said that she never sought to convert any inmate of her homes. She has been quoted as saying: “We should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim becomes a better Muslim, Catholic becomes a better Catholic.” Mother Teresa gave all the inmates love and dignity. Some other say that Mother Teresa minted money in the name of serving the poor. She acquired fame by taking care of poor children and proved to the world that India is a poor country and thus tainted the image of India. Not true at all. All the money that the Missionaries of Charity received by way of donations went into their charitable works, in setting up homes and taking care of the sick and poor. Mother lived a simple and humble life, owning nothing herself. She lived surrounded by lepers, patients with tuberculosis and other diseases. She and the sisters of her Order own just three saris (one to wear, one to wash, one to mend) and two or three cotton habits.
So why are these saffron men degrading the Mother with false accusations. How many of these men have ever been close to a leper or taken care of a destitute. I bet no one- but they are quick to criticize a devoted woman who had sacrificed all her life for the care of destitute, needy and the suffering- Shame on them. Since Modi came to power nine months ago, Christians and Muslims have felt besieged by a strident Hindu nationalist propaganda campaign, and in some instances have even been “reconverted” at highly publicized “homecoming” events, in line with the RSS belief that all Indians were originally Hindus. Are Catholics and Missionaries run by Catholic organizations for the benefit of all religions/caste/creed safe any more, is a question every one is asking presently.
About Mother Teresa and her Missionary:
Mother Teresa was the founder of the congregation, Missionaries of Charity, the religious order that today has over 4,501 sisters actively working in 133 countries.
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, in Albania on August 26 1910, she was lovingly called Mother Teresa after her selfless work with the homeless in Kolkata. “By blood I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun,” she had said.
The first home, Nirmal Hriday, the Home for Dying Destitutes was set up in 1952 in Kolkata. She began the Order on October 7, 1950, officially established in the Archdiocese of Calcutta and by 1990 had opened houses in almost all communist countries including the former Soviet Union, Albania and Cuba. Her tireless and dedicated work won her the Indian Padmashri in 1962 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
Despite suffering from severe health problems, she continued to govern her Society responding to the needs of the poor and the Church. She died on September 5, 1997 at the age of 87. Less than two years after her death, Pope John Paul II permitted the opening of her Cause of Canonization and on October 19, 2003, she was beatified in front of a crowd of 3,00,000 people assembled in St Peter’s Square, Vatican City.