Nuns gather Mother Teresa's 'relics'
Members of the Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Mother Teresa. are collecting relics, including her blood and hair, for the beatification ceremony at the Vatican on 19 October.
The relics, according to Catholic Bishops Conference of India spokesman Fr Babu Joseph, will be part of the elaborate ceremonies at the Vatican when Mother Teresa will be named the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
The relics are being classified into three categories.
First class relics will consist of Mother's body parts including her hair and blood that the nuns have in their possession. Her body is not being exhumed to recover more relics, members of her order said. These relics would be accepted only after scientific tests and authentication from the postulator who handles the beatification on the Vatican's behalf.
Second class relics will consist of the Mother's possessions including her clothes, bed, sheets and other items she used.
Third class relics will include cloth items that have touched Mother Teresa's tomb; these would be distributed to the public.
Followers of Mother Teresa, whose beatification is the fastest in the Catholic Church's recent history, can seek her intercession for blessings and other prayers, "but definitely can't be worshipped" after beatification, Fr Joseph explained. A person can be venerated according to Catholic tradition after s/he is canonised, which is the next step. However, institutions can be named after the beatification.
Missionaries of Charity prepare relics before founder's beatification (Catholic News Service)
Missionaries of Charity to focus attention on poor at beatification (Catholic News Service)
Beatification Mother Teresa of Calcutta 19 October 2003 (Vatican website)
Mother Teresa of Calcutta - Official site of the Cause of Canonisation
Pope thought about same-day canonisation for Mother Teresa (9/9/03)
Bishops ask India to make holiday for Mother Teresa's beatification (5/9/03)
2 Oct 2003