Mother Teresa Symposium

Family and Close Friends of Mother Teresa to tell personal stories of the “Saint of the Gutters” at historic gathering

As the 10th anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa approaches on September 5, 2007, Saint Vincent College today announced that a first-ever gathering of her family and close friends to celebrate her life’s work will be held at the College October 5 – 7, 2007.

The highlight of the three-day Conference will be an address by Sister M. Nirmala, M.C., successor to Mother Teresa and Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, who will be traveling from Calcutta and will be joined by some of the nuns, priests, and brothers who are part of the religious congregation Mother Teresa founded in 1950. There are over 750 Missionaries of Charity homes in 134 countries, including over 40 in the United States and Canada that serve the homeless, unwed mothers, people with AIDS, and others in desperate need.

The Conference also will feature a panel discussion that will include Mother Teresa’s only niece, Agi Bojaxhiu, who will be traveling from Italy to participate, as well as Mother Teresa’s closest friends in America, including several whose friendship with the celebrated nun date back to 1960. The concluding event of the Conference will be a luncheon on Sunday, October 7th, where residents in area homeless shelters, group homes for the developmentally disabled, and others loved most by Mother Teresa will be the honored guests of the College and Conference.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose legendary compassion continues to inspire countless people throughout the world, died September 5, 1997, and was beatified by His Holiness John Paul II on October 20, 2003.

Spaces for the public will not be allocated until the deadline for the invited guests to respond has passed. However, those who would like an opportunity to attend can be put on the waiting list by contacting Julie Gulling at 724-805-2962 or The Conference will be sponsored by Saint Vincent College and the Mother Teresa Center, a non-profit organization established and directed by the Missionaries of Charity to promote genuine devotion to Blessed Teresa and knowledge of her life, work, holiness and spirituality. More information on the Center is available at The Andreas Family Foundation provided a generous grant to Saint Vincent College to help underwrite the costs of the Conference.

Sister Nirmala “While the world understandably will focus its attention on the anniversary of the death of the Princess of Wales, there are many who believe that Mother Teresa’s legacy should be celebrated with great acclaim,” said Jim Towey, President of Saint Vincent College and former friend and legal counsel to Mother Teresa. “We are excited to co-host this first-ever forum on Mother. This Conference will focus on the person of Mother Teresa through the telling of stories by those who knew her best.”

In addition to Sister Nirmala and Agi Bojaxhiu, speakers will include:

— Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C., Postulator of Mother Teresa’s Cause for Beatification and Canonization, Director of the Mother Teresa Center, and author of a soon-to-be-released book on her interior life, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light.

— Dr. Warren and Patty Kump, close friends and collaborators of Mother Teresa since 1960. The Kumps had the unique privilege of having Mother Teresa as a house guest, and their stories, including one in which Mother Teresa unwittingly went into a Minnesota bar one morning, will delight those in attendance.

— Jan Petrie, Mother Teresa’s travel companion and the co-producer with Ann Petrie of two films about her. Jan Petrie accompanied Mother Teresa on trips to Russia, Vietnam, Lebanon, and other places throughout Europe, the United States and the world.

— Sandy McMurtrie, Mother Teresa’s close friend who will tell of her travels with Mother Teresa to Cuba when she met Fidel Castro and of her adoption of a child from one of Mother Teresa’s orphanages in Mexico City.

“Mother Teresa was a shining example of holiness in a life of dedication to the most neglected of human society, the poorest of the poor,” Fr. Kolodiejchuk, said. ” The event at Saint Vincent College will present an opportunity to learn more about her hidden interior depth discovered during the process of beatification and canonization, and to recommit ourselves to wholehearted service to our brothers and sisters in need.”

A coeducational, Catholic, liberal arts college sponsored by the Benedictine monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey, Saint Vincent College was founded in 1846. It has a scenic 200-acre suburban campus in the foothills of the Laurel Highlands, 35 miles east of Pittsburgh. President Towey accompanied 12 Saint Vincent College students on a mission trip to Calcutta, India, in late May where they had an opportunity to work in Mother Teresa’s missions.