Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center Incorporated

To Promote Genuine Devotion and Accurate Knowledge of Her Life

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NEW YORK, JUNE 6, 2005 ( The Missionaries of Charity announced the establishment of the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center.

The center, established to promote genuine devotion to Mother Teresa and knowledge of her life, work, holiness, spirituality and message, was incorporated in New York. Once fully operational, it will maintain facilities in Calcutta, India; Tijuana, Mexico; Rome; and the United States.

Conceived as the official vehicle through which Mother Teresa’s life and message will be advanced and protected, the center is a Catholic not-for-profit organization intended to serve as the authoritative source for Mother Teresa’s authentic writings and accurate information about her life and activities.

As the center evolves, it also will function as the publisher and distributor of books and devotional materials in multiple languages.

It will collect, preserve and exhibit Mother Teresa’s genuine relics as well as articles of historic importance. Plans also call for displays of creative works inspired by the now-beatified nun’s life, words and works.

A safeguard

«A center of this type is greatly needed,» said Missionary of Charity Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the new center’s director and the postulator of the cause of canonization of Mother Teresa.

«In addition to functioning as a place of authentic study, devotion and inspiration, the center also will safeguard Mother’s words and image from misuse or abuse,» he said in a statement. Numerous examples of misuse of Mother Teresa’s name, image and words already exist, according to Father Kolodiejchuk.

The idea for the center first emerged from the Office of the Postulation of Mother Teresa in 2002.

That office was responsible for compiling the definitive record of Mother Teresa’s life and submitting what was ultimately 35,000 pages of testimony and documents to the Vatican Congregation for Sainthood Causes.

That submission signified the conclusion of the first phase in the cause for the beatification and canonization of Mother Teresa. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in October 2003. One more miracle must be certified in order for her to be declared a saint.

Thirst for holiness

Sister M. Nirmala, superior general of the Missionaries of Charity Sisters and newly named chair of the center’s board of directors, said: «Through its activities, the center aims at creating in the hearts of people hunger and thirst for holiness, so they may surrender themselves totally — with loving trust and joy — to the God of love, and allow him to work his marvels of love in and through them and in the lives of those they touch, just as he has done in and through our Mother, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.»

Sister Nirmala succeeded Mother Teresa as head of the religious order of sisters founded by the Macedonia-born nun in 1950.

Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, who has been instrumental in establishing the center, said: «This is an outstanding time to announce the creation of the Mother Teresa Center, in the Church’s Year of the Eucharist.

«Pope Benedict XVI said it beautifully very recently when he repeated Pope John Paul II’s own words: ‘Holy Mass is the absolute center of my life and of every day of my life.’ It was the same for Mother Teresa.»

Among the first objectives for the new center will be the publication of the official biography of Mother Teresa.

Knights’ help

In addition, the center will immediately begin disseminating devotional materials with the assistance of the Knights of Columbus, the international Catholic men’s fraternal benefit society.

The Knights already have printed nearly 2 million pieces of Blessed Teresa devotional materials in English and Spanish. Millions more are being prepared in five languages for distribution at World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, this August.

«June 3 was specifically chosen for the official announcement of the center’s formation because it is the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,» said Bishop William Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport in Fairfield County, Connecticut, where the administrative and legal functions of the center are located.

«This is a date that carried special importance to Mother because of her profound love of Jesus, a love that inspires all of us to a greater devotion to the poor and to the building up of a culture of life for all of our sisters and brothers around the world,» Bishop Lori said.

Mother Teresa was born Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu in Skopje, present-day Macedonia, on Aug. 26, 1910. She died Sept. 5, 1997, in Calcutta.

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