The day began earlier than usual for the nuns at Mother House on Sunday. And soon after attending the morning mass at around 6, they were joined by some hundreds of followers. Together, they walked in silence to the Mother’s tomb to offer their prayers.
There were candles and flowers all around the place where Mother lies in eternal rest, and the mood was one of sombre contemplation. Celebrations were, indeed, low-key, as Mother herself would have preferred, at the institution she founded.
As the canonisation ceremony went underway in Vatican, a 20-year-old Manipuri youth, Adani, was watching the live telecast of the event on a giant screen some 7,200 kms away with rapt attention — at the Mother House in Kolkata. He had come all the way from a Northeastern state, with his cousins Eshuo and Kohdjiio and their mother Hrinia, to witness the historic moment at the headquarters of Missionaries of Charity, the institution that remains synonymous with Mother even 19 years after her death.
Talking to HT, Adani said, “We have come to Kolkata with just one purpose — to watch Mother’s canonisation at Mother House. Now that she has attained sainthood, we will stay here for the night and leave for our home tomorrow. I had prayed and prayed for days on end… to be here on this day… and now I feel blessed.”
Hypax Clavis Habuwiteka, a 19-year-old from Burundi in east Africa, came to Kolkata only two months ago. He is a student in the statistics department of St Xavier’s and stays at the college hostel. “I came here because I was drawn to the place by a kind of intuition… a desire to be here… Of course, I also wanted to see what happens during a canonisation ceremony,” he said.
A lawyer by profession, Spanish national Silvia Domengate Pathwath is in Kolkata with her friend Christina, an economist. They will be staying in the city for six more days but the reason for their being here was to be at the Mother House on this special occasion.
French couple Echen Stephen and his wife were in Kolkata with their four children for the same reason. They came all the way from Bangalore. Echen is an IT professional. The family landed at Kolkata airport at 6 in the morning.