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A Loving Farewell to Mother Teresa
By Mark Robinson
Mother Teresa's death on Sept. 5 touched off mourning around the world. But the revered Nobel laureate was missed especially in Noe Valley, the site of her order's only North American training center for nuns.
The Missionaries of Charity established a novitiate at St. Paul's convent at 29th and Church streets in 1982. A statue of the Virgin Mary stands in the courtyard near the entrance.
About 40 women live in the convent and do charitable work in San Francisco as they prepare to become full-fledged members of Mother Teresa's order. They can often be seen walking in pairs in the neighborhood, wearing their distinctive flowing white robes.
In the wake of Mother Teresa's death, two masses were held in her honor at St. Paul's Church. A memorial service took place on Sept. 7. And on Sept. 14, several hundred mourners turned out for a special
mass presided over by San Francisco Archbishop William Levada. Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity led parishioners in hymns and afterwards spent the day in quiet prayer.
The local superior of the Missionaries of Charity, Sister Sharbel, was in Calcutta, India, for Mother Teresa's funeral, and other nuns declined to give interviews. But Sister Maureen O'Brien, a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary at St. Paul's, recalled a visit Mother Teresa made to Noe Valley in the winter of 1991. The tiny nun spoke to the girls at St. Paul's High School. "They hung on her every word," Sister Maureen said. "She was so quiet and yet so charismatic. It was just really beautiful how she touched their lives."
Condolences or donations in Mother Teresa's memory can be sent to the Missionaries of Charity, 312 29th St., San Francisco, CA 94131.