NEW HAVEN – The Knights of Columbus Museum is celebrating the Sept. 4 canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata through Wednesday with a series of events that includes a viewing of her official canonization portrait and veneration of a first-class relic of the newest saint.
The relic of Mother Teresa is available for public veneration from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday.
The original painting of the official canonization portrait, titled St. Teresa of Calcutta: Carrier of God’s Love, was unveiled Sept. 1 in the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington D.C. It then was transported to the Knights of Columbus Museum for an unveiling ceremony on Sept. 2.
It was painted by Yale University graduate Chas Fagan, who resides in North Carolina. A reproduction of the portrait will be draped from the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City during the canonization ceremony on Sunday.
The portrait was commissioned by the Knights of Columbus as a gift to the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded in 1950 by Blessed Teresa, who was the first recipient of the Knights’ highest honor, the Gaudiem et Spes Award.
“It really is the way she looks,” said Sister Muriel, one of the 13 Missionaries of Charity assigned to the order’s two houses in Bridgeport, who attended the gathering.
She used to say, ‘Put your hand in Mary’s hand while you hold the rosary,’” she said of the image that shows a smiling Blessed Teresa gazing out to her right while clasping a rosary in her hands.
“The gaze is penetrating, as if Mother is interceding for us,” she said.
Sister Magdalena, superior of the sisters in Bridgeport, agreed. “I think Mother is a gift for the church and for our Missionaries of Charity,” she said of the order’s founder, whose mission, she noted, was to serve ‘the poorest of the poor.”
The sisters attended a Mass of thanksgiving for the canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa in Bridgeport on Sunday, celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport at St. Peter Church.
Supreme Deputy Knight Logan Ludwig unveiled the image at the museum.
“It definitely captures the vibrancy of Mother Teresa and the joy and love in her heart, as well as the energy in her spirit,” he said.
The museum was distributing Miraculous Medals, which Blessed Mother Teresa was famous for handing out to those she met, to the first 1,000 visitors. It is also making available some of the one million prayer cards bearing the new image that were printed by the Knights.
A talk on Mother Teresa’s spirituality and mission was presented Sunday by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, author of several books, including Mother Teresa and Me: Ten Years of Friendship. She met with and corresponded with Mother Teresa for a decade.
The museum’s exhibit, Mother Teresa: Saint of the Streets, includes a display case of memorabilia, a statue of the saint commissioned by the Knights and a video of Mother Teresa receiving the Gaudiem et Spes Award. It will continue at the museum until Nov. 6.
The original painting, however, will travel to New York City on Sept. 8 and be placed in the sanctuary of St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a mass honoring Mother Teresa’s canonization that will be celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 10.
The Knights of Columbus have supported the work of Blessed Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity since the 1970s.
“We always felt a special affinity with Mother Teresa since our first principle is charity,” said Knights CEO Carl Anderson in a statement. “As with her, that principle manifests itself in our own work and also through our help and support for the poor and vulnerable – those on the margins of society.”
The portrait eventually will be housed in the Mother Teresa Center in Rome.
The museum gift shop has a selection of books on the new saint available for purchase, including A Call to Mercy by Father Kolodiejchuk, who was in charge of promoting Mother Teresa’s sainthood.
Other items include rosaries with Mother Teresa’s image in the centerpiece, medals, holy cards, bookmarks, plaques, key chains, a rosary box and the commemorative stamp and envelopes of Mother Teresa issued Sept. 8, 2010.
The Knights of Columbus Museum is located at 1 State St. in New Haven and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with free parking and free admission.