2016-09-06 11:11:00

Borduria village in India’s Arunachal Pradesh celebrates St. Mother Teresa

A tiny village in remote northeast India, the only place in Arunachal Pradesh state that St Teresa of Calcutta visited some 23 years ago, celebrated the new saint’s canonization on Sept. 4 with great fervor and enthusiasm.  Mother Teresa of Calcutta visited the tribal village of Borduria in Tirap District on Aug. 2, 1993, some 4 years before her death in 1997.   The faithful of the village on Sunday joined the global celebration of Mother Teresa’s elevation to Sainthood, with a procession, a Mass and ‎installing a statue of the Saint.‎  Local Bishop George Pallipparambil of Miao, who ‎was instrumental in Mother Teresa’s visit to the village, presided over a Eucharistic celebration. “It was a very pressing ‎need to bring Mother here”, recalled Miao’s first bishop. “Any child born with physical deformity was ‎considered a curse to the family and so such children were thrown in the river immediately after birth,” the Salesian bishop recalled.  “‎We requested Mother to come and open a house so that such children would be collected and ‎brought up”.  With heavy restrictions on travel to the state bordering Tibet and Myanmar those days,  it was difficult for Bishop George, a priest then, to get the required permission for her visit.  “The administration was not ‎willing to give permission and hostile response to our request was visible,” he recalled. “However, due to some kind ‎people’s goodwill and support we managed to bring her to Borduria”, he said. Mother Teresa came and ‎inaugurated the first Catholic Church in Arunachal Pradesh in Borduria and also laid the ‎foundation for the House of the Missionaries of Charity (MC) Sisters there. ‎

The celebrations in Borduria started with a huge procession with a portrati of the new saint from the general public ground of the village, leading to the first Church that Mother Teresa ‎inaugurated in Arunachal Pradesh.  To mark this event a statue of the Saint was installed at the entrance of the Church.‎  Sr. Bibiane the superior of the house that Mother Teresa came to lay foundation says, “I am ‎very ‎happy today because of our Mother is in Heaven. She is praying for us and the whole world for ‎God’s ‎Mercy.”‎

Bishop George exhorted the faithful that celebrations must not end there. “Mother Teresa challenges us today to ‎be ‎like her, loving God through His people,” he urged.  “There should be many Teresas from among us to make ‎a ‎difference to the people, to make it a better place to live in. There are no great things but ‎only ‎small things with great love,”‎ he said.  

The villagers of Borduria fondly remembered ‎the Saint’s visit to their humble village. “23 Years has gone by after Mother’s visit but it feels like ‎yesterday”, said Mr. Techa Tangddong whose father did the anchoring during her visit. The ‎anchor for today’s event Mr. Nawang Lowang Medam, said that his whole village felt blessed to see ‎this day. “I was a small boy when she came and the memories of her visit are so vivid in my memory. It ‎feels so great today to realize a Saint has walked on the streets of our village”, he said. The MC Sisters working in Borduria were felicitated during the cultural event by the villagers.‎  Mrs. Wangalet ‎Lowangcha, the wife of the man who was responsible for the spread of Church in east Arunahal ‎Pradesh, recalled with nostalgia Mother Teresa’s visit to her village.

On Saturday, the eve of Sunday’s celebration there was a series of animation programme for youth, women and men groups in ‎Borduria.  In Khonsa town, the headquarters of Tirap District, the faithful took out a candle-lit procession town with a photo of St. Mother Theresa of Kolkata and it concluded with a movie on the Saint.‎  

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