Romanian President to open Street named after Mother Teresa

I wrote to him formally on Wednesday and requested him to make it convenient to inaugurate the road
( [email protected] ) Jan 06, 2004 08:46 AM EST

Calcutta, India, Jan. 6 - Calcutta, the 'City of Joy' that Mother Teresa served for several decades is now planning to honour the revered nun by naming a street after her and getting Romanian President Ion Eliescu to open it too.

The road to be renamed is the city's most fashionable, now known as Park Street, and houses trendy restaurants, hotels and fashion stores. The 1.5 km-long stretch leads to another road, which takes one to Mother House - the global headquarters of Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Mother Teresa.

Kolkata mayor Subrata Mukherjee has written to Eliescu asking him to do the honours some time in late January.

"I wrote to him formally on Wednesday and requested him to make it convenient to inaugurate the road named after Mother Teresa," Mukherjee told.

The mayor said the inauguration could take place either on January 30 or 31 depending on Eliescu's schedule and availability.

A bronze bust of the Albanian-born nun, who was beatified on October 19 by the Pope and ordained the Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata, is also to be unveiled on the road.

However, a section of the city's Christian population is pained because they say the authorities have chosen to name a street after Mother Teresa that cannot be associated with charity, love or spirituality - emotions she embodied.

"This would be an insult to her," said Charles Haldar, a Christian convert and an ardent admirer of Mother Teresa.

"How could they think of naming a street associated with food and revelry after our Blessed Mother?" exclaimed another. "If they want to honor her they should name the road in front of Mother's House after her."

Mukherjee had earlier tried to get former US president Bill Clinton and Indian Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani to inaugurate the road, but his plans fell through.

In the meanwhile, Romania has also urged Mukherjee to consider naming a road in a city neighbourhood after Mircha Aeliade, the Romanian author who had lived there during the 1930s.

But the mayor said the stretch Romanians wanted renamed could not be agreed to, and offered to rename another road, now called Ripon Street, where Aelaide had stayed briefly.

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 26, 1910. She came to this city in 1929, began a life dedicated to the service of the poor and dying and came to be widely considered as a living saint.

She founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1949, a year after which it received the Church's approval. The order has about 700 centres in 123 countries.

Mother Teresa was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She died in Calcutta in 1997.