Monday, April 26, 2010

Macedonia 02 - Mother Teresa

When SPC C and I visited Skopje recently, we went to the site of the house where Mother Teresa had been born. All that's left is a plaque on the ground where the family home once stood. The area now is a big shopping mall and plaza.

On the site where the Roman Catholic Cathedral had stood, until it was destroyed in the 1963 Skopje earthquake (Скопски земјотрес), stands the Mother Teresa Museum. It's an interesting place that just opened a few months before we arrived in Kosovo. It's actually not very far from where Mother Teresa's parents lived when she was born.

There's a large statue of Mother Teresa on the plaza just outside the new museum. Because this location is adjacent to a large pedestrian mall, and just a short walk from the downtown shopping mall (where her birthplace is located), I suspect lots of folks walk by it every day. Great spot for something like this, that's for sure!

The building was designed by some civic association committee, and looks a bit as though that's the case. But despite that, the building houses an interesting collection of Mother Teresa memorabilia, including a small to-scale reproduction of what Mother Teresa's house looked like before it was razed.

On the top floor of the structure is a wonderful, light-filled chapel. The glass and aluminum building materials used in the construction of the chapel, coupled with its very high ceiling, give the illusion that the space is much larger than it really is.

Mass is celebrated twice daily in the chapel, as well as at other times on special occasions.

The skylight in the roof is rather strange, but fits in well with the rest of the space. I was fascinated by the wood carving which adorns the front of the altar.

The actual museum part of the building is set up to reflect the interior of a typical Macedonian home at the time of Mother Teresa's birth. While the pieces of furniture on display are not from her family, they are contemporary to that period and place.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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