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UN charity day honours Blessed Teresa of Kolkata

By Sarah Mac Donald - 06 September, 2013

International Day of Charity coincides with Blessed Teresa's anniversary on 5 September.

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Hundreds of people who gathered to observe the anniversary of the death of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata yesterday in the Indian city also observed the UN’s first International Day of Charity, which was designated in honour of the Catholic nun.

“Those who want to please Mother Teresa on her feast day should emulate her charity first at home and then among the poor in their neighbourhoods,” Sr Prema, head of the Missionaries of Charity, said on Thursday in Kolkata.

She was speaking after a morning prayer programme which marked the 16th anniversary of Blessed Teresa’s death in 1997.

The nun, popularly known as Mother Teresa, founded the Missionaries of Charity (MC) congregation in 1950, two years after leaving the Loreto Sisters to work among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Kolkata.

She dedicated the rest of her life to working in thieeastern Indian city, where her congregation is also based.

“The MC mother house is the hub of charity,” Fr Dominic Gomes, vicar general of Kolkata archdiocese, said pointing out that some 5,100 nuns from the congregation now work in over 120 nations.

The UN General Assembly on 12 December last year adopted a resolution introduced by Hungary designating 5 September as International Day of Charity.

Its aim is to organise special events and increase public support for charities that “promote the rights of the marginalised and underprivileged and spread the message of humanity in conflict situations,” Csaba Kőrösi, Hungary’s UN ambassador, told the General Assembly when introducing the resolution.

Blessed Teresa, who won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, was born on 26 August 1910. She went to India as a missionary at the age of 19, after doing her initial training at Loreto Abbey Rathfarnham in Dublin and died at the age of 87 in 1997. In 2003, the Vatican beatified her.

Courtesy: Anne Nigli, Kolkata for UCA News

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