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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 October, 2003, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Celebrations in Calcutta

By Navdip Dhariwal
BBC correspondent in Calcutta

Nuns during holy mass at Mother House in Calcutta
Nuns celebrate the beatification at Mother House
In Calcutta, the city where Mother Teresa lived and carried out most of her work, there have been prayers and a vigil to mark the beatification.

Most people were able to watch the coverage at the Vatican live from their homes.

A small group of children gathered outside Mother House, the headquarters of the Order of Missionaries set up by Mother Teresa.

They held pictures of white doves and placards. One read: "Let every action of mine be something beautiful for God."

'Already a saint'

It was a reflection of the philosophy behind Mother Teresa's work here in India.

Inside the house, worshippers came to join in prayer.

Her tomb lies inside and a candlelit vigil is being held throughout the day.

Members of other faiths joined in too. One Sikh who had come from Amritsar spoke of how India had already accepted her as a saint.

Volunteers carry a portrait of Mother Teresa into a church in New Delhi
All across India people marked the occasion
The beatification in Rome was watched keenly throughout west Bengal.

But there were no huge celebrations at Mother House, the sisters there insisting that their work should continue because that is what Mother Teresa would have wanted.

Sister Nicole, of the Missionaries of Charity, says the beatification is a validation of the tireless work of a woman who came to be known as the angel of mercy.

But her road to sainthood has also caused controversy.

The Rationalist Society of India, a campaign group promoting science over superstition, has questioned the basis of the miracle that has put Mother Teresa on the fast track to sainthood.

They claim it is leading the sick to look to superstition for comfort.

But Calcutta is a city that feels blessed now Pope John Paul's declaration that Mother Teresa has become Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Bob Sinkinson
"It was a remarkable and moving occasion to commemorate a remarkable person"



SEE ALSO:
Pilgrims' joy at Teresa ceremony
19 Oct 03  |  Europe


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