St. Teresa of Calcutta was the inspiration for Banners of Peace at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church. Although loving our neighbor can be tough in these difficult times in our country, we sought to encourage people to start by sharing a smile. In partnership with Marie Constantin, author of Finding Calcutta: Memoirs of a Photographer, Covalent Logic created a banner to encourage peace just in time for the canonization of the newest Catholic saint. The banner was installed at local Catholic churches including Our Lady of Mercy, Most Blessed Sacrament, St. Jean Vianney, and the Catholic Life Center. Then, we sent banners to five other American cities where racial tensions have sparked recent violence. Read about it in this story in the Advocate. Below, you can read the letters we received from recipients around the country.
Thank you for the wonderful banner in honor of Saint Teresa that was received at Saint Rose of Lima. What a welcome surprise! I was very touched by your letter accompanying the banner. I am pastor of both Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church and Corpus Christi Catholic Church here in Roseville, Minnesota. Both parishes take in portions of Falcon Heights where the police shooting of Philando Castile took place, so we certainly do know our oneness with you when it comes to tragedy.
I was delighted that the banner came in time for the celebration of Mother Teresa being proclaimed a Saint by Pope Francis last weekend. It arrived on Thursday, my day off, and I found it in my office on Friday. Actually, the staff all wanted to know what come in the big tube! I opened the present like a little kid on Christmas morning and found the banner and the letter. As I read the letter out loud to those around, they were deeply touched by your thoughtfulness to include us in what started as a simple request from your pastor.
I was especially excited because I had the privilege of meeting Mother Teresa 40 years ago when I was a young 28-year-old priest at Saint Olaf Catholic Church in downtown Minneapolis. She was in town not for an official event but secretly for tests at the hospital with Doctor Warren Kump who with his wife was a co-founder of the Co-Workers of Mother Teresa. Patty had arranged for Mother to use our chapel for her hour of morning prayer before the Blessed Sacrament because it would be private and not cause a scene if people were to spot her. After dropping Mother off, Patty had to run some errands and charged me with driving Mother out to the Kump home. (Try driving calmly, worried about getting into an accident, with a saint in your back seat!) We spent two hours chatting over coffee & donuts at the kitchen table before I had to go back for noontime confessions. And before I left she insisted on her knees that I give her a blessing, even though I protested that she should give me hers!
All that came flashing back with the arrival of the banner. I immediately took it over to church to make sure it had a prominent place for he weekend. I have attached two photos for you. Again thank you for your kindness. Let us continue to keep each other in prayer for peace that begins with a smile.
Hello Ms Wood –
I was given your contact information from Father Fitzpatrick, pastor at St Rose of Lima Catholic church in Roseville, MN. His parish received the beautiful banner of Saint Teresa of Calcutta that includes her quote “Peace begins with a smile” as the parish serves the community affected by the tragic police shooting of Philandro Castile, and have prominently displayed it in the front of the sanctuary for all to view and appreciate. He told me he has sent you a note of gratitude to let you know just how much the banner means to the community affected by this unfortunate violence. My wife and I were visiting St Rose church yesterday to attend Sunday mass, and were utterly entranced by the simple beauty of the poster – the wonderful photo of Saint Teresa with her serene smile and folded hands, and the striking layout of the banner as well as the message. We simply couldn’t get it out of our minds, and talked about it as we drove back the 160 miles north to our home in Duluth, MN.
My wife teaches Religion to 5th and 6th graders at Holy Rosary Catholic school in Duluth, and thought that the banner would be a great way to integrate the life, example, and words of Saint Teresa into her curriculum in a way that would touch the young lives of her students as she tries to convey the importance of loving everybody as Christ loved all of us. The world would certainly be a much better place if more people would practice this! In any case, I was hoping that you might be willing to send a copy of the banner to Holy Rosary school for my wife’s classroom. We would be happy to pay for it, or to make a donation to whatever charitable organization you wish in exchange. It would really mean a lot and I know it would be a great blessing to everyone who saw it. Thank you so much for your kind consideration of this request.
God bless you and what you are doing!
Kevin T. Stephan, MD, FACP
St Mary’s Medical Center
The banner arrived right before I departed for Rome and the canonization Mass for Mother Teresa. It is striking and bold yet reflects the joy and peace she lived and shared with the world. Our patroness, Blessed Teresa continues to have a significant impact on the lives of our parishioners as well as the greater community. We will proudly hang the banner in a prominent place in our parish facility.
Thank you for your most generous gift and know that we hold the people of Baton Rouge in prayer as the community works to recover from the recent floods.
Sincerely in Christ,Rev. Robert (Rosy) Rosebrough
P.S. I went to canonization in Rome and my heart soared in joy. Thank you again for your generosity.
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