Mother Teresa is in the news these days over the inexplicable refusal by the Empire State Building to light the venerable building blue and white (the colors of her Missionaries of Charity habit) on the 100th anniversary of the blessed sister’s birth. See died in 1997.
Much has been made of the fact that the once tallest building in the world was lighted in red to mark the 60th anniversary of the communist revolution in China, but rejected a request from Bill Donohue’s Catholic League to honor one of the world’s most popular women and a 1979 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
When it comes to the intersection of Catholicism and the secular mindset, you can’t make up a more head-shaking story. Ironically, a biography of Mother Teresa is titled Come, Be My Light.
On a more positive note, the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Conn., located just two blocks from where I write, is featuring an excellent exhibition on the woman who one day will be declared a saint, now known as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Titled "Mother Teresa: Life, Spirituality and Message," the exhibition fills two large galleries and includes some spiritually priceless items, including a number used by Mother Teresa (and are thus second-class relics): a sari and habit, rosary beads, table setting, beddings. Of particular interest is a recreation of her room (cell) in Calcutta.
One wall shows the long and close relationship between Mother Teresa and the Knights of Columbus, which created its Gaudium et Spes Award especially for her in 1992. The Knights also has printed the Constitutions of the Missionaries of Charity, as well as the prayer book given to each new sister.
The heart of the exhibition consists of some 60 panels that tell the story of her life, from her birth in Skopja in 1910, to her entrance into the Loreto Sisters, and her "call within a call" to found the Missionaries of Charity. These panels were developed by the Missionaries of Charity and first displayed at her beatification ceremony in Rome in 2003. If you are ever in the New Haven area, stop in (free admission).
You can see more details from the exhibition of the museum website:www.kofcmuseum.org.