Nine days before her canonisation, and on her 106th birth anniversary, a life-size bronze statue of Mother Teresa was unveiled on the lawns of the Archbishop House here on Friday.

Standing next to the statue of Pope John Paul, now Saint John Paul, the 5 feet 2 inches tall statue of Mother Teresa shows her bowing slightly with clasped palms, in the traditional gesture of greeting people.

“It was to this Archbishop House that Mother Teresa came in 1946 as a sister of the Loreto Convent,” Archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D’Souza said at the event. “She met Archbishop Ferdinand Périer, then head of the Calcutta Archdiocese, and sought his blessing to set up the Missionaries of Charity. During his visit to Kolkata, Pope John Paul has stayed at this historic house in February 1986.”

 West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who unveiled the statue, commended the “bold and historic decision that the Archbishop House has a statue of Mother Teresa before her canonisation.” Ms. Banerjee said that she had accepted an invitation from the Missionaries of Charity to visit Rome during Mother Teresa’s canonisation on the very day on which results of the last Assembly elections were declared.

“I am not going with the official Government of India delegation but as a guest of the Missionaries of Charity,” she said, telling the small audience gathered at Archbishop House that she will wear a sari in colours similar to those worn by the nuns of the Missionaries of Charity.

The Chief Minister recounted her meetings with Mother Teresa, sharing anecdotes about how Mother Teresa went about serving the poor and downtrodden in most difficult circumstances. “Mother Teresa made it clear that there is no substitute for good work, work for the downtrodden and work for humanity,” Ms Banerjee said, describing Mother Teresa as the ‘Pride of Kolkata’. Mother Teresa will be declared a saint on September 4.

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