by Rita Wall ECHOING many tributes from around the world, Cardinal Basil Hume last week praised the "utter goodness and compassion" of Mother Teresa of Calcutta who over Easter announced her retirement after 41 years as Superior General of the order she founded.
"Our day has produced some remarkable examples of goodness and self sacrifice," the cardinal stated, but "Mother Teresa of Calcutta stands alone".
Mother Teresa, who is 79 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, "represents supremely what ordinary people around the world acknowledge to be genuine holiness" the cardinal said. "Her utter goodness and compassion have without words communicated the heart of the Gospel and restored some hope in the midst of much suffering."
Mother Teresa resigned as head of her order, the Missionaries of Charity, because of failing health, the Vatican announced over Easter. She had been suffering from heart trouble which has confined her to Calcutta and prevented her from visiting the many homes for the needy, established by her order worldwide.
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Doctors advised that the demands of such travelling these international centres proved too much for the Albanian-born nun's heart, and indeed may have accelerated her declining health. She had a pacemaker fitted last December.
Mother Teresa said she was happy to leave the task of leading the order to "younger hands". She was getting too old for a fast growing organisation and needed a rest, she said.
The Vatican announced that the new head of the Missionaries of Charity will be chosen by the chapter of the order when it meets in Calcutta on September S. Mother Teresa will participate in the selection process.
The Catholic Herald will profile this campaigner for the marginalised next week.