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Wednesday, August 25, 2010 11:03:39 PM, IANS

Statue of Mother Teresa in a Washington Church


Kolkata: Mass prayers, film festivals, cultural programmes and exhibitions will mark the birth centenary celebrations of Mother Teresa Thursday in Kolkata, the epicentre of the nun's work among the poor, old, infirm and the dying.

The day will start with a holy mass and inauguration at Mother House, the global headquarters of the congregation Missionaries of Charity founded by the Albania-born Nobel laureate who took up Indian citizenship.

An exhibition on the life, spirituality and message of Mother Teresa will be opened at the Mother House Thursday morning. A four-day film festival begins at the cultural complex Nandan.

Organised jointly by the World Catholic Association for Communication, Archdiocese of Calcutta, the Missonaries of Charity in collaboration with the West Bengal Film Centre, the festival will screen feature films, documentaries on the Mother's life and works till Aug 29.

Among the movies are "Mother Teresa" (by Ann and Jeanette Petrie), the most authentic documentary ever made on her with commentary by Sir Richard Attenborough, and the three-hour feature film "Mother Teresa" made by Lux Vide on Indian soil.

The internationally acclaimed biopic "Mother Teresa and Her World" by Japanese filmmaker Shigeki Chiba - one of the earliest motion pictures ever made on the nun in 1979 - and Dominique Lapierre's feaure film "In the Name of God's Poor" starring Charlie Chaplin's daughter Geraldine Chaplin as Mother Teresa will be among the chosen movies.

An interactive website containing a comprehensive list of all the programmes to be organsied as part of the centenary celebrations, slated to continue through the year, will also be inaugurated Thursday.

A quiz show on the Mother will be hosted by Derek O Brian later this month, while a cultural programme will be organised at Rabindra Sadan in the second week of September.

Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia Aug 26, 1910, Mother Teresa left her parental home at 18, and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India.

She arrived in Kolkata in 1929 years later she took Indian citizenship and left the convent with the church's nod to serve the poor and the ailing.

She set up Missionaries of Charity in 1950 at 14, Creek Lane, but shifted to the Mother House in 1953 as her order expanded.

Mother was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1979 and given India's highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, in 1980 for her humanitarian work. The Missionaries of Charity now comprises over 4,500 sisters and is active in 133 countries.

It runs homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis. It also conducts children's and family counselling programmes and runs orphanages and schools.




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