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Mother Teresa’s appeal is universal, says Chief of Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India

Currently, Indian Catholics have three native saints and besides the two canonizations in 2014, Sister Alphonsa was the first Indian to be canonised in 2008

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Mother Teresa, Wikimedia

Thiruvananthapuram, August 31, 2016: Mother Teresa’s appeal is universal- cutting across caste, creed and religious barriers, every individual can seek inspiration from her life, work and sacrifice, the head of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India(CBCI) has said.

“Her appeal is universal. Her life is a role model worth emulating, cutting across caste, creed or religion. Her sympathy and empathy for the poorest of the poor is what made her great and on September 4, her name and fame will reach greater heights,” Cardinal Moran Mar Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, 57, popularly called Old Cleemis, said.

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In a chat with IANS, just before his departure to the Vatican to take part in the canonization rituals, Old Cleemis, who is the head of the Syro Malankara Catholic Church here, said he was delighted to be a part of the celebrations.

“Definitely, it’s a moment of personal joy that I am taking part in the canonization of the Mother, whom I have met,” he added.

Cleemis was part of the celebrations in 2014 when two native saints, Kuriakose Elias Chavara (Chavara Achen) and Sister Euphrasia (Evuprasiamma), were canonised.

He never had the opportunity to meet the two, but he proudly recalled his meeting with Mother Teresa. As a young theology student, he had briefly interacted with the Mother when she came to Kottayam in 1980 for the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Malankara movement.

“She undoubtedly was the star of the moment and won the hearts of everyone through her gentle behaviour,” recalled Cleemis, who himself created a record of sorts by becoming India’s youngest cardinal in 2012.

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Currently, Indian Catholics have three native saints. Besides the two canonizations in 2014, Sister Alphonsa was the first Indian to be canonised in 2008.

Cleemis also pointed to great the honours that Mother had been conferred with- the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, Bharat Ratna in 1980 and now this, the crowning glory, when she will be elevated as a saint.

“The greatness of the Mother is the way she took care of the poor and downtrodden by showing them mercy. The orphans should know that they are not alone as she has laid the path for many to follow and many have already taken up her cause,” Cleemis said. (IANS)

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  • Michael

    Nobody calls the Catholicos of the Malankara Syriac Catholic Church “Old Cleemis”.

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Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great Minds of India’.
Twitter:@SGewali