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Patna room still houses Mother's memories

October 20, 2003 08:36 IST

Many may not be aware of the special association that a small room in Patna has with Mother Teresa, who was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003.

After joining the Loreto Sisters of Dublin, she came to India in 1929 and took the name Sister Teresa. She spent 17 years teaching and as principal of St Mary's High School in Kolkata before deciding to work among the 'poorest of the poor'.

Around 1948, she decided to form a congregation. But she lacked medical training to serve the sick. Hence, she headed for the Holy Family Hospital in Patna to learn about first aid.

Patna archbishop Benedict J Osta told that the three months she spent there were very precious for Mother Teresa. It was a period of uncertainty. She was frightened and unsure of the future. It was her training at the Holy Family Hospital that gave her the confidence to go ahead with the task she had in mind.

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The room where Mother Teresa stayed is now a part of the Missionaries of Charity's house. Outside the room there is a board that read: 'Mother Teresa, who started her mission of love after undertaking training at Padri ki Haveli, stayed in this room, 1948.'

It has been left untouched, as it was when she inhabited it. The small room still has everything she used: an iron cot, a large desk, a small table on which she kept her Bible, a chair, a wall-mounted cupboard, a kneeler bearing the symbol of Jesus Christ and a wooden clothes hanger.

The room leads to another, which has a picture of Mother Teresa with the first governor of Bihar and Bishop Wilder Muth, taken on the occasion of the inauguration of the MC House in Patna in 1963. There are other pictures too, including one taken in her birthplace in Albania in 1928.

"She was Patna's saint in the sense that she began her work from this place. It had played an important role in shaping her career," said Osta. People associated with different churches in the city celebrated her beatification in a big way with special masses and prayer services.

The MC House will organise a mass on October 26 and an all-religion prayer meeting on November 1. The bishop of Patna will also hold an all-religion meet on November 9 and a mobile exhibition depicting Mother Teresa's life is in the planning stages.

A senior member of the church said that usually it takes hundreds of years after the death of a person before he/she can be considered for beatification, but in Mother Teresa's case the process was speeded up as she was worshipped as a saint even before she died in 1997.

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna