In Kolkata, Mother Teresa has left her touch beyond the walls of the Mother House and the centres she started across the city to nurse the “poorest of the poor”. Her legacy survives not just in the Sisters who took up her vow of serving the needy and the slum-dwellers, but in odd lanes and bylanes, where one suddenly finds a board proudly proclaiming its association with Mother. It was a long and often arduous journey for her, from the time she left the confines of the Loreto Convent till the time she took up residence at Mother House.
Ahead of her upcoming canonisation on September 4, when the Vatican will declare her to be what her fondest followers have always revered her as - a saint - HT revisits a few places that were privileged to be associated with her.
From 1937 to 1948, Mother Teresa taught at Loreto St Mary’s school in Entally. She was appointed headmistress of the school in 1944. A teacher of geography, she was so fluent in Bengali, that she taught with ease in the school that used Bengali as its medium of instruction.The school has preserved the chair and desk used by Mother Teresa while a teacher there, and a classroom where she taught, along with hand-written registers where she had made records about the performance of the students.
In 1935, Mother Teresa was in-charge of St Teresa’s school on AJC Bose Road, close to where she would later open Mother House. In 1948, after she left Loreto, she started her first dispensary in the adjacent building of St Teresa of Avila Church. She would also have her mid-day meals there and would pray at the Church. She was last at the Church on April 27, 1997, months before she died on September 5 the same year.
After leaving Loreto Convent in 1948, Mother Teresa lived for two months at the home for the elderly run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. It was here that she got some basic training in caring for the sick, the elderly and the poor. She would walk from here to the slums everyday
From here, Mother Teresa moved to 14 Creek Lane. The owner of the house, Mr Michael Gomes, allowed Mother Teresa to live and work from one floor of the house. She was joined here by the first batch of 12 sisters with whom she started the Missionaries of Charity.
She lived here till she moved to Mother House in the 1950s. Mother House, in Kolkata’s AJC Bose Road remained Mother’s residence till her death in 1997.