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Road to Sainthood Started in Small Kosovo Church: Mother Teresa to be canonized by Catholic Church on September 4

A devout Catholic from an early age, she would later reveal that it was in the Church of the Blessed Lady in Letnica that she decided to adopt a life of religious devotion

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Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and father Ante Gabric SJ | by zatletic. Image source: Flickr
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he world will watch as Mother Teresa – a woman whom the world has come to know as a humanitarian and founder of the Missionaries of Charity, will be canonized by the Catholic Church on September 4.

A small community in Kosovo is celebrating this momentous occasion and remembering the role their congregation played in inspiring the young woman to a life of devotion, where once she spent time in her youth.

To the world, Mother Teresa came to be known as the mother of the poor and the needy, a symbol of a life of service to mankind. She began her charity work in India, where she was sent in 1929 by her religious congregation, the Loreto Sisters of Dublin. But she embraced her calling in the small Kosovo village of Letnica. Then a young woman of 18, she lived in Kosovo, where her family had resettled from her native Macedonia.

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A devout Catholic from an early age, she would later reveal that it was in the Church of the Blessed Lady in Letnica that she decided to adopt a life of religious devotion.

The church today serves a community of 500 Catholics, in a village populated mostly by Albanians, with a small Croatian minority. The congregation is headed by Father Marjan Lorenci.

“This is where Mother Teresa felt the holy calling, after she arrived here from Macedonia, from Skopje. She came here because God brought her here with her family, and it is here that she heard God’s word. This is where she took her steps on the path to serve God, and what’s more important, to serve her fellow man,” Lorenci said.

For the local community, the canonization is a source of pride and a chance to share the famous missionary of Albanian origin with the world. Kosovare Xhoni, a member of the congregation, feels privileged.

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“I was born and raised here, and I am very proud to have received my religious teachings at the same church where Mother Teresa first felt her calling,” Xhoni said.

Father Lush Gjergji, who first met Mother Teresa in 1968 and has written extensively on the Nobel laureate, says Letnica was always in her itinerary every time she visited Kosovo.

“The one place which she always visited was Letnica; it was her spiritual sanctuary,” said Gjergji, who serves as vicar of the Kosovo Archbishopric.

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Mother Teresa visited Kosovo five times after she became a nun. But it is her charitable work around the world that garnered her international fame and the adoration of millions.

On September 4, the Catholic Church will formally declare her a saint, immortalizing a life of dedication that got its first inspiration in a church in a small Kosovo village. (VOA)

 

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Goodbye Holy Smoke, Vatican City bans Sale of Cigarettes

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking.

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sale of cigarettes
The faithful gather in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. VOA

Vatican City, November 10, 2017 : Pope Francis has ordered a ban on the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican from next year because of health concerns, a spokesman said on Thursday.

“The motive is very simple: the Holy See cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people,” spokesman Greg Burke said in a statement.

He cited World World Health Organization (WHO) statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year.

Cigarettes have been sold at a discounted price to Vatican employees and pensioners.

Vatican employees are allowed to buy five cartons of cigarettes a month. Many Italians ask their non-smoking friends who work in the Vatican to buy cigarettes for them because they cost much less than in Italy, where they are subject to heavy taxes.

Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, adding, “However, no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.”

The spokesman said the sale of large cigars would continue at least for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled.

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking. Bhutan, where smoking is deemed bad for one’s karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. (VOA)