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Students make a beeline for ‘Mother Express'

Special Correspondent
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The four-coach exhibition train chugs back into various stages of the life of Mother Teresa

TRAIN OF THOUGHTS: School students viewing the exhibits on Mother Teresa inside the Mother Express at the Katpadi railway station on Thursday. — Photo: R. Jawahar
TRAIN OF THOUGHTS: School students viewing the exhibits on Mother Teresa inside the Mother Express at the Katpadi railway station on Thursday. — Photo: R. Jawahar

Hundreds of school and college students from Vellore and other parts of Vellore district thronged the Katpadi railway station on Thursday to see ‘Mother Express', an exhibition on train, on the life of Mother Teresa. It is designed by the Committee on Heritage and Culture of the Ministry of Railways to commemorate the centenary of the great missionary.

The exhibition contains pictures of Mother Teresa from the days of her childhood, when she was known as Gonxha Agnes, to her last days. It also traces the various stages in her life, starting from her stint as a teacher of geography and catechism at the Loreto Convent, Kolkata, to her leaving the convent dressed in a white and blue-bordered sari to do service in the slums of Kolkata at the divine call, to the actual service rendered by her.

The exhibition reveals to a lay visitor the circumstances leading to her decision to take up life-long social service. The words of Mother Teresa, “I remember that when we were small, my mother brought three people from the street and told me to serve and look after them”, bring home the influence of her mother on her decision to go for the charitable mission. The narrative, which accompanies the pictures, tells the viewer that on September 10, 1946, when she was going in a train to Darjeeling, she heard the call to give up her teaching profession in Loreto convent and follow (Jesus) Him into the slums to serve Him among the poorest of the poor. That was the second calling, after the first one when she got the call to leave Skopje in Yugoslavia to serve in the St.Mary's Convent, a Bengali school for girls in Loreto.

The exhibition brings out the fact that Mother Teresa was the recipient of more than 700 awards and honours all over the world from 1962 to 1997, the notable among them being the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1962), Nobel Peace Prize (1979), Bharat Ratna (1980) and the Order of Merit from Queen Elizabeth (1983). The most important part of the exhibition is Mother Teresa's message to the people, “our poor people are great people, very lovable people. They don't need our pity and sympathy. They need our understanding love and respect. We need to tell the poor that they are somebody to us, that they too, have been created by the same loving hand of God, to love and be loved”.

S. Anantharaman, Divisional Railway Manager, Southern Railway, Chennai Division, who received Mother Express on its arrival from Bangalore at the Katpadi station, said that the four-coach exhibition train, which was flagged off by Minister for Railways Mamata Banerjee at the Sealdah railway station in Kolkata on August 26 would be stationed in the Kancheepuram station on January, and at Chennai on January 9 and 10. C. Rajendran, Collector of Vellore, who saw the exhibition lauded the efforts of the Railway Ministry in organising it.

The Mother Express will remain open for public viewing at the Katpadi station from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on January 7, before it leaves for Kancheepuram.

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