A most welcome Mother on a university campus
Education should not just improve the mind but should also teach the heart to think.
Amit Dasgupta, India’s ambassador to the Philippines, expressed the hope that Filipino students would reflect on lessons from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
The ambassador spoke at the unveiling of the bust of the future saint of the Catholic Church, which was donated to the University of Santo Tomas (UST) by the Indian government.
“Education is not only what improves your head. Mother Teresa said you must learn how to think with your heart because it is only with your heart that you find compassion,” Dasgupta said.
UST rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, OP, said the image of the “Saint of the Gutters” would help the university inculcate her virtues more deeply and profoundly among its students.
“Even when she was still alive, Mother Teresa symbolized our search for meaning and our innate need for genuine virtue and goodness,” the rector said.
Dasgupta compared Mother Teresa to Mahatma Gandhi, preeminent leader of nationalism in British-ruled India.
“As others would say, ‘People like Gandhi do not belong to India; they belong to the whole world,’” the ambassador said. “It is the same case with someone like Mother Teresa.”
The donated sculpture of Mother Teresa was unveiled recently at Santisimo Rosario Parish Garden on the UST campus. Carved by West Bengal sculptor Gautam Pal, it has a plaque bearing one of Mother Teresa’s famous sayings: “Your strength lies in small things.”
Although the bust would have been welcomed anywhere in the country, Dasgupta said the Indian government decided to put it in UST, the oldest Catholic school in Asia, which Mother Teresa had visited on two of her three trips to the country.
He said it was fitting that the bust had found a home in an institution that would teach the young about brotherhood, tolerance and acceptance.
“Education is when you think different. And that’s the important part. And I think Mother Teresa is one who thought different. She thought with compassion,” he said.
Aside from university and embassy officials, the unveiling was also attended by Foreign Undersecretary Jose Brillantes and actor Boots Anson-Roa.
Born on Aug. 26, 1910, of Albanian parents in the part of Yugoslavia that is now known as the Republic of Macedonia, Mother Teresa arrived in India in 1929 to teach at the Loreto Community in Calcutta, West Bengal.
She founded, with the approval of Pope Pius XII, the India-based Missionaries of Charity, a congregation devoted totally to the poor. Her devotion to the poor earned her the title “The Living Saint.”
Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. The Indian government conferred on her the Padma Shri and Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1962 and 1969, respectively. Her work also earned her Asia’s prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1962.
To commemorate her 100th birth anniversary, India issued a special 5-rupee coin that symbolized the amount of money Mother Teresa had with her when she first arrived in India.
Mother Teresa died on Sept. 5, 1997, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003.
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