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Mother Teresa visits Montreal

Mother Teresa of Kolkata's canonization, foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity, coincides with the 30th anniversary of her first visit to Montreal. After a stop in Quebec City and before a visit to the United States, Mother Teresa spent most of the day of 12 June 1986 in our diocese.

As always in her travels, Mother Teresa drew together large crowds. For the Mass celebrated at 6:40 a.m., the Cathedral was filled to capacity. The Eucharist was presided by Archbishop Paul Grégoire. Several bishops were also present. Among them was the Archbishop of Quebec Cardinal Vachon.

Following Mass, more than 2000 business, religious and public leaders gathered at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel for a Prayer and Friendship Breakfast. Among them were the Premier of Quebec Robert Bourassa, the leader of the Official Opposition Pierre-Marc Johnson, the Mayor of Montreal Jean Drapeau, the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec Jean-Pierre Côté and many federal and provincial members of parliament. John Turner, former Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons said an opening prayer and Mother Teresa delivered a personal testimony. Several times in her address she encouraged Montreal's elite to pray but also to do their work with love and to offer it up to God.

Of this first visit to Montreal, our Archives have kept a few photographs by photographer Robert Nadon which La Presse offered to the diocese and a letter signed by Mother Teresa in which she expresses her gratitude to Archbishop Grégoire. However, the real outcome of this first visit was the establishment of the Missionaries of Charity in the diocese of Montreal. In an exchange, the Archbishop of Montreal and Mother Teresa had shared their common desire to see the Congregation open a house in Montreal. As a result, in the late summer of 1988, four sisters came to live on Drolet Street. Thus, Mother Teresa's first visit was followed by a second one two years later. In September 1988, she stopped again in Montreal to visit the sisters that had arrived barely two weeks earlier.

The Missionaries of Charity are still present in our diocese. Four sisters currently live on Champagne Street in Montreal and continue Mother Teresa's mission to the most deprived among us.

Link to Mother Teresa's speech (french)
Link to Archbishop Grégoire's speech


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