Russian monument to Mother Teresa

A monument to one of the world’s most famous Catholic nuns, Mother Teresa, has been unveiled in the Kaluga region. The event was timed to coincide with Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday on 26 August.

A small bronze statue depicting a woman sitting on a bench and surrounded by children is how the world remembers Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, or Mother Teresa. This Albanian-born nun, who devoted her life to helping the poor and the sick all over the world, is a household name. Over her entire lifetime, 87 years in all, Mother Teresa founded hundreds of charities, schools and orphanages.

Many would be happy to even catch a glimpse of Mother Teresa, a woman who was considered a saint during her lifetime. She not only devoted her entire life to mercy and charity, but, like a real saint, she cured people in word and deed. Russian theologian Aleksei Yudin was lucky to see Mother Teresa when she visited Moscow for the first and last time. It was in the winter of 1988, shortly after the disastrous earthquake in Spitak, Armenia.

“She was among the first to wholeheartedly respond to the Spitak disaster by offering her help,” Mr Yudin told The Voice of Russia. “Her visit to Russia was very modest. I thought, however, that this was a hugely important event,” he recalls.

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu is known the world over as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, as she spent a large part of her missionary life in India, not only preaching Christianity, but also healing local residents. Mother Teresa did not care about the religious beliefs of those in need.

She first came to prominence in the former Soviet Union after the Spitak earthquake and the Chernobyl disaster. She was brave enough to come close to the reactor to provide whatever help was needed.

While Mother Teresa herself saw her work as “a drop in the bucket”, the international community saw it differently. In 1969 she received the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1969, and two years later – the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize. In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

She died of a heart attack on 5 September 1997. Five years later, the Catholic Church began the beatification process. Hers was a rare case of such a quick and almost unanimous canonisation by the Catholic Church.

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