Catholic Church of Montreal > Publications > Info Archives > June 2016: Mother Teresa visits Montreal

June 2016: Mother Teresa visits Montreal

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2016 will be the year of Mother Teresa of Kolkata's canonization. The foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity will be canonized on 4 September 2016 in a ceremony scheduled to take place in Rome. This year also 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.

The tradition of a Leaders Prayer Breakfast continues to this day. Each year in Montreal, hundreds of leaders gather to pray together, listen to a personal testimony and discuss their faith. This year the Breakfast will be held on 3 June 2016.

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. A copy of this letter can be found at the bottom of this page. 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.


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