Mother Teresa's mission lives on in Kolkata, grows worldwide

Fri Sep 2, 2016 9:51am EDT
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By Subrata Nagchoudhury and Sunil Kataria

KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - On the eve of her canonization as a Roman Catholic saint, and 19 years after her death, the order founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta is going strong - even without her charismatic leadership.

The Missionaries of Charity gained world renown, and Mother Teresa a Nobel peace prize, by caring for the dying, the homeless and orphans gathered from the teeming streets of the city in eastern India.

They also drew criticism for propagating what one skeptic has called a cult of suffering; for failing to treat people whose lives might have been saved with hospital care; and for trying to convert the destitute to Christianity.

While staying true to their cause, the Missionaries of Charity say they have responded to their detractors.

"There is no change in our way of treating the sick and dying - we follow the same rule that Mother had introduced," said Sister Nicole, who runs the Nirmal Hriday home in the ancient district of Kalighat, the first to be set up by Mother Teresa in 1952.

The nuns no longer picked up people "randomly" off the streets, she said, and only took in the destitute at the request of police.

"Any good work will be challenged - but if the work is genuinely good it will survive such criticism and carry on to be God's true work," said Nicole.


A nun belonging to the global Missionaries of Charity walks past a mural at Prem Dan, a home for the destitute and old run by the Missionaries of Charity, ahead of Mother Teresa's canonisation ceremony, in Kolkata, India September 1, 2016. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri