The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception hosted a one-day display on June 2 of first- and second-class relics of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. More than 1,500 people came to venerate the relics. The display included two first-class relics,	 a reliquary containing some of Mother Teresa's blood 	and another containing a lock of her hair; and several second-class relics,  the future saint's crucifix, rosary, sandals and sari.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception hosted a one-day display on June 2 of first- and second-class relics of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. More than 1,500 people came to venerate the relics. The display included two first-class relics, a reliquary containing some of Mother Teresa's blood and another containing a lock of her hair; and several second-class relics, the future saint's crucifix, rosary, sandals and sari.
First- and second-class relics of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta were on display for one day last week at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. More than 1,500 people came to venerate the relics.

The June 2 display included two first-class relics - a reliquary containing some of Mother Teresa's blood and another containing a lock of her hair - and several second-class relics - the future saint's crucifix, rosary, sandals and sari.

"The crucifix on display was the one worn by Mother Teresa for 67 years of her life - from the time of her first vows made in 1931 at the age 20 until her death in 1997 at age 87," said Jacquelyn Hayes, a spokesperson for the National Shrine. "The rosary and sandals on display were those used by Mother Teresa at the time of her death."

The relics, on loan from the Missionaries of Charity's motherhouse in Calcutta, are being exhibited in preparation for the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresa's birth on Aug. 26. They will be venerated in various places where Mother Teresa visited during her lifetime.

The National Shrine was the first place for Blessed Teresa's relics to be exhibited in the United States. Mother Teresa visited the National Shrine about six times - twice for the profession of her sisters in 1991 and 1995, in 1979 to receive the National Shrine's Patronal Medal, and earlier in 1972, 1974 and 1975.
About 350 attended a Votive Mass of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, celebrated June 2 by Msgr. Walter R. Rossi, rector of the National Shrine.

"As Mother was physically present in this National Shrine during the course of her life, so once again today she is physically present through her relics which the Missionaries of Charity have been kind enough to share with us," he said during the Mass.

He said the veneration of relics "are meant to draw us closer to God, to foster greater and more prayerful devotion, to encourage imitation of the virtues of the saint who is venerated, and to seek their intercession in our own lives.

"These relics of Mother which we have before us are not magic. Her presence may not change us over night or as we walk out the door," Msgr. Rossi said. "But as we venerate her relics, we ask her to pray with us and for us, that one day we may achieve our goal, and like her, be a light of the Lord for those in darkness and maybe even one day, a saint."

The items were displayed for veneration adjacent to the National Shrine's recently dedicated statue of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta on the lower level of the shrine. The National Shrine also has a stained glass window of Mother Teresa in the Crypt Church sacristy.

Hayes noted that the shrine was "honored to host the display and veneration of the relics of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta." She added that on Sunday, Sept. 5, the U.S. Postal Service will unveil its Mother Teresa commemorative stamp and hold its first-day-of-issue ceremony at the National Shrine

That ceremony will follow the already-scheduled 2 p.m. Mass in honor of Mother Teresa, which is celebrated annually at the National Shrine on the anniversary of her death.