The headquarters of the 'Missionaries of Charity' stands like a symbol of peace in the heart of the bustling city of Kolkata. It’s the place where Mother Teresa, or the “living Saint” as the world called her in reverence, lived and immersed herself in service of people. It is also her final resting place.
In Kolkata city, Missionaries of Charity headquarters is located in Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose road in Ripon Street.
The building looks commonplace enough to not stand out in any way, and hence, it's not easily located. To add to that, there’s no large signboard with the name of the institution written in block letters! But that doesn’t seem to deter the hoards of visitors who come in search of this place from all corners of the world all year round.
A turn from the main road into a smaller lane will lead you to the entry gate of the building. Soon as I entered the premise, I saw a nun and spoke to her about the purpose of my visit. She told me of the restrictions that have come to be in place due to COVID in an apologetic tone. She also told me that visitors were only allowed inside Mother’s tomb. We weren’t allowed into the other quarters that brought us closer to Mother’s life in Kolkata.
Removing my shoes, I stepped into a room, which, from what I could gather, was a prayer hall. On one side, there was Mother’s tombstone made of marble. At its side were fresh flowers left behind by someone who had come in to pray before me.
The walls in the prayer hall display paintings that detail Mother’s exemplary life and teachings. Also depicted on the walls are Jesus Christ’s messages that gave Mother the impetus to reach out to the helpless and needy, and hold them close.
To one side of the hall, you will find copies of Mother’s short biography. There are copies in Malayalam language as well. Visitors can pick them up and they are free of cost.
It was probably time for the next round of prayers to begin. A few other nuns joined us in the hall. They were talking to each other in soft voices, making sure to not disturb the great woman resting here after an eventful life full of quiet yet superhuman deeds.