MOTHER Teresa longed to be at the feet of the crucified Christ and that is exactly where a group of Brisbane Catholics have put the Albanian saint.
A life-like statue of St Teresa of Kolkata, which shows how the saint prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, now sits at the foot of the crucifix in Marian Valley, a shrine operated by the Pauline Fathers.
The statue was originally donated by the Missionaries of Charity in Sydney to the Pauline Fathers in Penrose Park, New South Wales.
Pauline Father Damian Mosakowski said the statue “didn’t really fit in” at the Penrose Park shrine, but when he invited to a meeting in Brisbane about a new chapel dedicated to St Teresa, he knew the statue would add to the space.
“We believed we had no appropriate place where she deserved to be and has proper honour,” Fr Mosakowski said.
“Marian Valley will be her home.”
Missionaries of Charity Sister Milada agreed that St Teresa’s favourite place was at the foot of Christ.
“Mother would be so happy to be there,” Sr Milada said.
“Mother used to say that’s where we belong as Missionaries of Charity.
“She spent her life attending to Jesus at Calvary who is with the poor.”
Before arriving at Marian Valley earlier this month, the tiny Albanian made a detour to three parishes – Star of the Sea, Cleveland; St Michael’s Church, Dorrington, and Banyo Nundah throughout October.
The parishes are home to three friends, Carlton Meyn, Keith Fernandes and Evarist D’Souza, and their wives Jeanne, Michelle and Bertha, who have spent the past 18 months planning a chapel for St Teresa at Marian Valley.
Mr Meyn and Mr Fernandes have been friends for 12 years and make an annual visit to Marian Valley to give thanks for the year.
“What happened was simply that we used to go and thought we have to do something here,” Mr Meyn said.
“One day Keith’s wife said to me, ‘Why don’t we build something for Mother Teresa?’”
On November 4, surrounded by parishioners, priests and two of the Missionaries of Charity Sisters, the land for St Teresa’s chapel at Marian Valley was blessed.
The organising committee is now searching for 52 families in Brisbane archdiocese who would be willing to look after the chapel.
“Our biggest achievement will be when we get 52 families across the archdiocese to be involved taking up the duty of looking after the chapel,” Mr Meyn said.
“If we have 52 families doing that, not only will that shrine be looked after but the message of Mother Teresa will go through.
“For us that is the biggest thing we want, the bigger part is how you can pass on the message of what Mother Teresa stands for.”
The chapel in honour of Mother Teresa is expected to be completed in September 2018 to coincide with the saint’s second anniversary of canonisation. The committee are hoping to venerate a relic of St Teresa in the chapel.