Nurul Islam keeps Mother Teresa Alive

mother-souvenir-shop-nurul-islam
Nurul Islam’s souvenir shop – Courtesy Indian Express

Mother Teresa is being questioned. Many call her names even as the world prepares to celebrate her Sainthood. With miracles proven the Pope has paved the way for the Blessed Mother to now be canonized on September 4. While the world watches every bit of the ceremony at Vatican to finally give her that Supreme place, for Nurul Islam who runs a souvenir shop in Kolkata it is a special moment.

For Islam it is a day when his shop gets a new meaning. A mother or Ma in Bengali who he and many others revered was being finally moved from Human to Godly form.

This shop in Kolkata’s AJC Bose Road is dedicated to Mother Teresa. This is the only Mother Teresa souvenir shop.

For regular visitors at the Missionaries of Charity over the years a visit to Nurul Islam’s shop is foremost on the to do list.

While Mother Teresa gets declared as a saint after nearly two decades of her demise Mother Teresa was is and has always remained a saint.

Mother-Teresa
Saint Teresa

Islam, who owned the shop for nearly three decades, ventured into this business by chance.He had started off with an electronics shop, but then soon after Mother Teresa’s death in 1997, a woman came searching for a “rosary”, the holy string of prayer beads for the Catholics.

Out of curiosity he found out what a rosary was and then started keeping it in his shop.

He gradually started making rosaries himself to sell them.

Islam taught a few boys in his locality how to make rosaries.It was after slightly failing Father Nazareth, of St Mary’s Church in Kolkata’s Ripon Street, helped him expand his business.

Having struck the right chord with the Mother House he started getting orders for Mother memorabilia or keepsakes. This gave him an idea of incorporating Mother Teresa’s photos. Over the years, he made the transition to a Mother’s souvenir shop.

His shop now offers various designs of rosaries, one of the most popular being the ones with a tiny picture of Mother Teresa. Statues, portraits, T-shirts, pens, bracelets, lockets and fridge magnets all having some symbol of Mother are available under one roof.

Bookmarks, prayer cards and pocket calendars are also among the most sold products.

From locals to those coming from offshore he is quite a runaway hit.

The Missionaries of Charity is known the world over for caring for the dying, the homeless and orphans.

Hundreds of thousands will gather in Rome for the canonisation service led by Pope Francis, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, in front of St Peter’s Basilica.

At Mother House, her old headquarters silent prayers have continued.

Inspired by a copy written by Shreya Das for the Indian Express

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