MoC gets official possession of land from where Mother Teresa started her work for poor

Kolkata: Saint Teresa used to frequent to help and nurse the ailing, poor and destitute of adjacent slums in 1948 while residing at the nearby Loreto House Entally convent hostel as a nun

BY | Monday, 24 April, 2023
Mother Teresa's home for the Dying destitute Nirmal Hriday, Kalighat, Calcutta. (Credit: Bernard Gagnon/ Wikimedia commons)

Seventy-five years after Mother Teresa started her work for the poor at a slum shelter in the Entally area of the city, the Missionaries of Charity on Sunday said it has got official possession of the plot of land.

The Motijheel Nirmal Hriday house, which Saint Teresa used to frequent to help and nurse the ailing, poor and destitute of adjacent slums in 1948 while residing at the nearby Loreto House Entally convent hostel as a nun, had been looked after by MoC in all these days.

Due to various legal complications related to tenancy, the MoC couldn’t get the plot officially till recently.

At the initiative of Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, the tangles were resolved and the MoC finally became the rightful legal owner taking possession of the plot of land.

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Making a public announcement about the development at the slum shelter on Sunday, Superior General of MoC Sister M Joseph told PTI at the venue, It is a “beautiful gesture” by the state government to facilitate handing over this place to MoC where the sisters can live and serve the poor and share the hardships that the poor live every day.

“And it is always very important to share the hardships of the poor. Without knowing what the poor go through we cannot serve them. Mother Teresa also said you must always experience what the poor go through every day. They have no water, they have poor toilet facilities, their living space is limited. Yet they radiate hope despite living in such conditions,” she said.

Underscoring the poor want compassion, the senior nun said “Mother did believe in touching hardships of poor. She believed we can understand their (poor) hardships when we have the heart”.

“Like Saint Teresa, who is revered as Mother by one and all, we the sisters can live here and serve the poor which is our mission,” Sister Joseph said.

Recalling the three years from 2016-19 when she served the poor here, Sister Joseph said “these three years had been the most defining moments of my life and consolidated the course of my future journey to serve humanity forever.”

Sister Joseph said the big Motijheel slum nearby the slum shelter – which had undergone drastic changes in look with several multi-storied flats coming up in recent years cheek-by-jowl with old shacks – had always been the focus of attention of the nuns working there as we all follow the example of Mother.

“Many a time I felt Mother is standing on my side as I came to the service of these suffering, bedridden people in the three years from 2016-19. There are countless memories. One of those is related to an ailing little boy living in a nearby house. He would wait for my visit,” she said.

Four nuns currently live in the building run by MoC at present built over 7 cottahs of land.

A cultural performance followed the public announcement as the Superior general and other guests were greeted with the chanting “happy coming to our place” by the poor children of nearby slums who are taught and imparted training by the MoC at the shelter.

O’Brien said Saint Teresa had started her mission in India from this place 75 years ago.

“However the property was no one’s property at that time. Though in all these years though MoC ran this shelter. Now it becomes MoC property,” he said.

Sheila Gomes, a 32-year-old local woman who had been trained by MoC nuns and teachers, said “This is a mixed area where Muslims, Christians, Hindus live together in absolute harmony. There might have been reports of tension between two groups of people elsewhere but these things could not affect Motijheel as we are all children of Mother and her team of nuns.”

The nuns enjoy tremendous respect among all sections of people including local toughs,” she added.

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