.- The government of India has told the Albanian government that it will not allow the remains of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be returned to the land of her birth. Church officials insisted that any decision would ultimately rest with the Missionaries of Charity, who dismissed reports of the move as speculation.
Vishnu Prakash, spokesperson of the Ministry for External Affairs, said that the late nun was an Indian citizen who is “resting in her own country, her own land.”
“The question of returning her remains does not arise at all,” he told the Indian Express.
Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha had asked the Indian government to return the remains of Mother Teresa, an ethnic Albanian, to Albania for the 100th anniversary of her birth in August of 2010, UCA News reports.
Sister Christy, a senior nun in Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, told UCA News her congregation has not heard anything official about such a request but has seen the media reports, which she dismissed as “speculations.”
Mother Teresa arrived in India in 1929 and became a citizen of the country in 1947. After her death in 1997 she was buried inside the headquarters of her Missionaries of Charity congregation in Calcutta.
Father Babu Joseph, a spokesman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, told UCA News that even if talks are going on between the Indian and Albanian governments, the final decision would depend on the Missionaries of Charity nuns.
While it is an “understandable desire” that the people of Mother Teresa’s native country want her body returned, Fr. Joseph remarked, he also noted that she was an Indian citizen.
Archbishop Emeritus of Calcutta Henry D’Souza said that Mother Teresa identified herself with the people of Calcutta and noted that people would be deprived of the opportunity to make pilgrimages to her tomb if her remains are removed to Albania.
Archbishop D’Souza, who reportedly knew Mother Teresa well, said she did not wish to be buried anywhere other than Calcutta.