Missionaries of Charity Father Brian Kolodiejchuk said the reliquary chosen for Mother Teresa’s relic reflects her life and values.
At every canonisation ceremony, people connected to the new saint carry to the altar a relic – often a bone shard from the new saint’s body. The relic presented at the Mass for St. Teresa of Kolkata was a few drops of her blood.
A relic is like a keepsake, a tangible reminder that the new saint was human yet heroically lived a life of holiness. The relic is kept in a reliquary, which often is an ornate work of art in gold or silver.
The front of the large cross is made of wood taken from places associated with Mother Teresa’s works of mercy: The first home for the dying she established in Kolkata, a home for those with Hansen’s disease, an immigrants’ boat, a Gypsy shack. But there also is wood from the kneeler of a confessional because Mother Teresa believed the sacrament was the greatest expression of God’s mercy, said Father Kolodiejchuk, official promoter of Mother Teresa’s sainthood cause.
In the centre of the cross, Mother Teresa’s blood is sealed in a glass orb in the shape of a water drop as a symbol of her vow to quench the thirst of those literally without water and those dying in the aridness of being unloved, said a statement released by Father Kolodiejchuk.
The glass orb is supported by a roughly sculpted, wrinkled hand, “which carries this drop full of love to respond to the cry” of Jesus on the cross – “I thirst” – a cry echoed by millions of people around the world, the statement said.
The water drop is surrounded by two sweeping bands of blue and white, recalling the sari Mother Teresa adopted as a habit. The bands form a heart on which the words, “I thirst,” are reproduced her in handwriting.
The base of the reliquary is made of battered iron “to represent how society always sees the poor people whom Mother Teresa loved with her whole heart,” the Vatican said.
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund