Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta will appear on a U.S. postal stamp in 2010, the postal service announced last week. “With this stamp,” notes the press release, “the U.S. Postal Service recognizes Mother Teresa, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work.”
“Noted for her compassion toward the poor and suffering, Mother Teresa, a diminutive Roman Catholic nun and honorary U.S. citizen, served the sick and destitute of India and the world for nearly 50 years. Her humility and compassion, as well as her respect for the innate worth and dignity of humankind, inspired people of all ages and backgrounds to work on behalf of the world's poorest populations,” the statement adds.
The U.S. Postal Service also recalls that President Ronald Reagan presented Mother Teresa with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, the same year she began work on behalf of AIDS sufferers in the U.S. and other countries. In 1997, Congress awarded Mother Teresa the Congressional Gold Medal for her “outstanding and enduring contributions through humanitarian and charitable activities.”
In 1996, President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress awarded Mother Teresa honorary U.S. citizenship, an honor bestowed only on five others: British Prime minister Winston Churchill; Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who saved hundreds of Jews from the holocaust; British William Penn and Hannah Callowhill Penn, founders and administrators of the province of Pennsylvania; and the Marquis de Lafayette in 2002. With the exception of Hannah Callowhill Penn, each of these figures also appeared on a U.S. postage stamp.
The stamp features a portrait of Mother Teresa painted by award-winning artist Thomas Blackshear II of Colorado Springs, Colo.