MISSIONARIES of Charity Sisters living in the first Australian house Mother Teresa opened rejoiced when their local bishop made a 12-hour trip to celebrate Mass for the canonisation of their foundress.
Wilcannia-Forbes Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green drove more than 930km to offer a Mass for the three sisters looking after the first Australian house Mother Teresa opened in 1969.
He had been back at Marian Valley the previous day for the Feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin but told the congregation he couldn’t stay long as he was making a long trip to Bourke.
“It was the least I could do for Mother Teresa and her remarkable sisters,” Bishop Macbeth-Green said.
More than 200 people attended the Mass with the bishop and sisters at Holy Spirit Church, Bourke.
Following the Mass with the Bourke sisters, children performed a short pantomime on the life of Mother Teresa.
Young girls dressed up as the blue-and-white nuns while other children acted as drunkards, the homeless and the poor.
Bishop Macbeth-Green then had a private lunch with the sisters, who typically don’t eat in public.
“We had a laugh and I stirred them up a little,” he said.
Mother Teresa first arrived in Australia in 1969 to open the country’s first Missionaries of Charity convent in Bourke.
The foundress had wanted the sisters to minister and serve the local Aboriginal community with the same heart for the dying and destitute in Kolkata.
When asked why Mother Teresa had set up the first house in Bourke, a city not experiencing poverty as in Kolkata, she said “being unwanted was the worst disease in the world”.
Bishop Macbeth-Green said the local Aboriginal people had a deep respect for Mother Teresa’s sisters.
“One thing about the sisters in both convents in the diocese, is that you only need to mention them and you get a smile,” Bishop Macbeth-Green said.
He said the original mission Mother Teresa had for her sisters in Bourke was still alive today.
“They are all little Mother Teresas,” he said.
“One thing the sisters do really well is follow the charism of their founder.
“They reflect her love for the poor and vulnerable and those who are unwanted.
“I haven’t met any Missionary of Charity that doesn’t seem to do that.”
By Emilie Ng