Mother Teresa Lies in State as Rites Are Set
Barefoot paupers, movie stars and government leaders wept and prayed beside Mother Teresa’s body Sunday, paying their respects to a woman who embraced both the poor and the powerful.
The Nobel laureate and nun lay in state at the St. Thomas Church, one of this city’s oldest and largest Roman Catholic houses of worship. Her body was moved earlier in the day from the headquarters of her Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity order, where she died Friday night at the age of 87.
“Mother Teresa, we will always love you,” read a handwritten poster hanging from the neck of one grieving child.
Mother Teresa lay under a glass case on a platform draped in the white and blue colors of the Missionaries of Charity, her hands folded across her chest.
Mourners filed quickly through the church, stopping for just a few moments before the body.
Mother Teresa’s funeral Saturday will be held in the 10,000-seat stadium where Pope John Paul II addressed the faithful during his 1986 visit to India, a spokesman for Calcutta Archbishop Henry d’Souza, Father Ambrose, said Sunday.
Members of the Missionaries of Charity said Mother Teresa will be buried in the courtyard of the order’s headquarters, on the edge of a Calcutta slum.
Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, who visited the St. Thomas Church on Sunday, has called for a state funeral, meaning Mother Teresa will be given full military honors.
The 4-foot-11-inch nun was born in Macedonia to Albanian parents and became an Indian citizen in 1948. She had suffered heart problems and other ailments for years and gave up leadership of her order in March.