The Bensonhurst community saw a welcome addition on Sunday, September 25 as a statue of Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa, was unveiled on the corner of 61st Street and Bay Parkway.
Donated by the Albanian Roots organization, the statue – blessed at a dedication ceremony led by organization representatives, Monsignor David Cassato and State Senator Marty Golden – will sit across from St. Athanasius Church at 2154 61st Street and will serve as a symbol of love and faith, according to Cassato.
“This is a great union of faith, a great sign to the community of God’s inclusive love,” said Cassato, who gave the blessing. “God has such tremendous love, an ‘abbondanza’ of love. If anyone embodies that, it’s Mother Teresa. She went out to all people, touched the lives of all people.”
The ceremony turned out a number of distinguished guests including the President of the Republic of Albania Bujar Nishani, and featured an array of musical and dance performances honoring Saint Teresa.
“I am so proud to have partnered with the Albanian Roots organization, St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church and the community in the dedication of a statue in honor of Saint Teresa of Calcutta in Bensonhurst,” said Golden. “Earlier this month, Pope Francis officially declared Mother Teresa a saint, and we believed it is important to celebrate and pay tribute to her life here in our hometown. It is my hope that this statue will inspire many to live as Saint Teresa would want, and I believe this will provide a special place for our community to go to her with our prayers and intentions.”
According to the Diocese of Brooklyn, “Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910 in Skopje, Albania. At the age of 18, she left her home and moved to Ireland to pursue missionary work joining the religious order known as the Sisters of Loreto. In 1931, Sister Teresa was assigned to the Loreto Entally community in Calcutta where she began teaching at St. Mary’s School for girls.
“In pursuit of her passion, Mother Teresa, in 1948, received permission to begin a new religious order, the Missionaries of Charity,” the information from the Diocese continued. “She left the Loreto convent to embark on her new mission of serving the poor to which she devoted the rest of her life. Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997. Pope John Paul II beatified her on October 19, 2003 and on September 4, 2016 Pope Francis canonized her a saint.”