Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Albania wants Mother's remains

In a very strange turn of events, Albania wants India to hand over the remains of Mother Teresa stating that she was born in Skopje which was then a part of Albania. However, it is important to note that she was born to immigrant parents in Skopje which is now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia. So there is a bitter dispute going on between Albania and Macedonia as well regarding the citizenship of Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa once said: "By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world.". So this three-sided tussle over her remains does not make much sense - she should just be left alone in peace in the land which she took as her own.

It seems that this is being done by Albania as it is on the hunt for other national icons as it struggles (since 1992) to heal the scars of four decades of communism. Albania wants to reclaim her remains before the 100th anniversary of her birth in August next year so that it can promote tourism as people will throng to visit her grave. The fact that Vatican is in the process of canonizing her, adds to the lucrativeness.

Here is a short timeline of important events in her lifetime:
  • August 26, 1910: Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, in Skopje
  • 1928: Moved to the Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland, to learn English
  • 1929: Arrived in India as a novitiate in Darjeeling
  • May 24, 1931: Took religious vows as a Nun
  • May 14, 1937: Took her solemn vows while serving as a Teacher at Loreto Convent School, Calcutta
  • 1948: Left Sisters to teach slum children and care for the homeless
  • 1950: Started Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta
  • 1951: Given Indian Citizenship
  • 1952: Opens the first Home for the Dying in space made available by the City of Calcutta
  • 1962: Awarded the Padma Shri - an award given by the Government of India generally to Indian citizens to recognize their distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity
  • 1962: Awarded the Philippines-based Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding, given for work in South or East Asia
  • 1971: Paul VI awarded her the first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize, commending her for her work with the poor, display of Christian charity and efforts for peace
  • 1979: Awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding
  • 1979: Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1980: India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna for her humanitarian work
  • November 16, 1996: Proclaimed directly by Act of Congress an Honorary Citizen of the United States.
  • September 5, 1997: Died of heart attack
  • 2002: Beatified by Pope John Paul II given the title "Blessed Teresa of Calcutta"

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