KOLKATA, August 26, 2010 (AFP) – A solemn mass kicked off a day of remembrance Thursday on the birth centenary of Mother Teresa, known as the “Saint of the Gutters” for her life’s work with the sick and destitute of Kolkata.
Mother Teresa began her missionary work with the poor in Kolkata in 1948 and the teeming east Indian metropolis remained her base until her death in September 1997.
Her grave in the order’s headquarters has since become a pilgrimage site.
Mother Teresa was beatified in 2003, after being fast-tracked by the Vatican, but her elevation to sainthood is still awaiting proof of a medical miracle.
“We don’t have it yet,” Sister Prema, who took charge of the order last year, told AFP on Thursday. “Miracles depend on God, not on people. We are waiting.”
For all the reverence with which her name and memory are treated, Mother Teresa was not without her critics.
One her most vocal detractors was the British-born author Christopher Hitchens who, in a 1994 documentary called “Hell’s Angel,” accused her of being a political opportunist who failed those in her care and contributed to the misery of the poor with her strident opposition to contraception and abortion.
Questions have als