A life-size replica of the bedroom of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta has been created in the church of St Patrick’s, Soho, central London.
This shows the pictures by her bed, and the boxes in which – til the end of her life – she distributed post for each of the sisters in the house where Mother Teresa lived in Calcutta.
It is part of a free exhibition about the life and message of Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa, Life, Spirituality Message opened this week, after a special Mass at St Patrick’s on Monday night. This was concelebrated by the Papal Nuncio to England, Archbishop Antonio Mennini.
Visit and you will also see Blessed Teresa’s Sari, and headband and cardigan, her prayer book, and a copy of the chapel typical to houses of the Missionaries of Charity, the order Mother Teresa founded in 1950.
A film, The Legacy, shows interviews with Mother Teresa, with her sisters and footage from the state funeral given Mother by the Government of India in 1997.
In 2003, John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa in Rome, and her life story is narrated in the exhibition through nearly 100 posters containing texts and photographs. These are taken from a presentation assembled for use by the Missionaries of Charity by the Mother Teresa Center (www.motherteresa.org). This promotes authentic knowledge of Blessed Teresa, and safeguards her public image, exposing novenas, chain e-mails
and quotations falsely attributed to her.
Many of the posters now on display at St Patrick’s have appeared in similar exhibitions held in Rome, Washington and Sydney. “It is always different in each place” says Teresa Calonje, the Spaniard who suggested the Missionaries of Charity put on the exhibition in London.
She saw the show in Madrid during World Youth Day in August 2011. “The sisters had a large tent in the Retiro Park in Madrid with Perpetual adoration and were very present there,” says Mrs Calonje, a mother of three based in London.
“When I saw the exhibition in Madrid I thought ‘great!’. I said to the sisters [in London] ‘why don’t we do it? They were very excited,” says Mrs Calonje. As an 18-year old student in Madrid, she volunteered at a house for men suffering Aids run by the Missionaries of Charity. “The exhibition is important for me – Mother helps me a lot in my spiritual life and I have the obligation to share that,” Mrs Calonje explained.
“This exhibition has just so much to say for today,” said Father Alexander Sherbrooke, the parish priest of St Patrick’s Soho. “Mother Teresa lived the love of God in a most profound and powerful way – that is what the exhibition shows. It gives a real sense of who Mother was, and what she is calling us into,” he added.
“Mother always spoke of how we must marvel at God’s love for us and share it with our brothers and sisters. She radiated that love in her whole being,” said Father Sherbrook who met Blessed Mother Teresa several times in her lifetime.
Some of the 20 missionaries of Charity based in London may be present at the exhibition, on some days. But their schedule is busy – in their three houses in London (out of a total of 11 in the UK) the Sisters run soup kitchens, visit old people at home and in hospital, run a hostel for homeless women, and organize days of prayer, pilgrimages and a summer camp for 100 children.
On 26 August they will launch a novena to Mother Teresa, and on its last day, 5 September, the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols will say a Mass at Holy Apostle's Soho.
The exhibition will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am-7pm daily until 15 September in the crypt of St Patrick’s church, Soho, 21a Soho Square, London W1D 4NR See: http://Stpatricksoho.org/