Friday, October 16, 2009


India has rejected a demand by the Albanian government for the return of the remains of Nobel laureate Mother Teresa, buried in the city of Calcutta.

Mother Teresa, an ethnic Albanian, was born in Skopje, now part of Macedonia.

The row over her resting place could develop into an ugly three-way squabble between India, where she worked most of her life, Albania where her parents came from and Macedonia where she lived the first 18 years of her life.

The row is expected to intensify by August next year - the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresa's birth - by which time many commentators expect her to have been canonised as a saint.

The ethnic Albanian nun, who was known as the 'Saint of the Gutters' for her work among the poor of Calcutta, was given Indian citizenship in 1951.

Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910, Mother Teresa arrived in India as a novice in 1929 and dedicated herself to working among the sick, dying and destitute.

She took the name of Teresa on taking her vows as a nun in 1931 and in 1950 established the order which runs homes for abandoned children, the elderly and those suffering from leprosy and Aids.

The MoC grew to include 3,000 nuns and 400 brothers in 87 countries, tending to the poor and dying in the slums of 160 cities.

In 1979, she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of 'the throwaway of society'. She asked that the grand gala dinner be cancelled and the proceeds be given to the poor of Calcutta.

Mother Teresa once said: 'By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world.'

She was beatified - the first stage in becoming a saint - in 2002 by Pope John Paul II. It was done in record time in the modern era.

Mother Teresa's beatification has now paved the way for her canonisation, which many expect will happen soon

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