The Bishop of Derry has said it was a “special thrill” to witness the canonisation of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta on Sunday in the company of other local pilgrims.
Dr. Donal McKeown was among a total of 50 people from the Derry Diocese attending the special ceremony at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
The local group had already planned their Year of Mercy Pilgrimage for this week before the date of the canonisation of Saint Teresa was announced and it was a happy coincidence that they were able to attend.
Bishop McKeown said they left their hotel at 6.30am on Sunday in order to be in good time for the ceremony at St. Peter’s Square, which started at 10.30 a.m. They spent almost five hours in the Square in the company of 200,000 others, in heat that rose to 32C, but the local group said that it was a privilege to witnessed such an historic event.
Speaking from Rome, Bishop McKeown told the Journal: “Being Irish, we were very proud that Mother Teresa had spent the first years of her formation as a nun with the Loreto Sisters (they are still in Coleraine and Omagh, where we have Loreto Colleges) before she went to India as a Loreto Sister. It was only after 17 years in India that she had her ‘vocation within a vocation’ and felt called to found her own congregation of nuns to work with the destitute.
“For me it was a special thrill. I had met Mother Teresa when she was in Belfast in the early 1970s and when she spoke to a group of us university students – with her very soft, but engaging voice.
“The only other canonisation at which I was present was that of St. Oliver Plunkett on October 12, 1975 – when we young seminarians had no idea what sort of life and ministry was ahead of us. Thus I was simply grateful for being part of the celebration.”for a modern Saint.”.