CNA Staff, Aug 27, 2020 / 16:00 pm
The Missionaries of Charity canceled their customary birthday celebrations for their founder, Mother Teresa, this year after nine religious sisters tested positive for COVID-19.
Wednesday marked the 110th birthday of Saint Mother Teresa, who died in 1997.
Among other celebrations, the Motherhouse of the Missionaries of Charity, which houses the saint’s tomb, was forced to call off a public nine-day novena, Mass, and children musical event.
Sunil Lucas, a Missionaries of Charity volunteer, said out of nine sisters who have tested positive for COVID-19, seven had recovered as of Aug. 26. She said the sisters have been going out to visit the poor and ill even after the headquarters restricted visitors and gatherings in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“These fearless Covid-19 warriors had been going out daily to serve the poorest of the poor. And some contracted the infection," she said, according to UCA News.
Mother Teresa’s birthday normally draws thousands of visiting pilgrims and sisters. Instead of the usual celebrations, a private Mass was held this year at the saint’s tomb on the morning of Aug. 26. It was celebrated by Father Dominic Gomes, vicar general of the Kolkata Archdiocese.
Catholics normally commemorate the feast day of a saint - which often corresponds with the day they died - but the Missionaries of Charity have continued to celebrate Mother Teresa’s birthday as well. During Mother Teresa’s life, her birthday had been a major celebration at the house.
Last year, an estimated 300 nuns and novices gathered around Mother Teresa’s tomb and sang “Happy Birthday” following a Mass in commemoration of the saint’s birthday.