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Missionaries of Charity nuns test positive, miss out on celebration of St. Mother Teresa’s birth in effort to restrict spread of coronavirus

Members of the Missionaries of Charity, wearing protective face shields, distribute free snacks and tea to the poor in Kolkata, India, Aug. 26, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. They distributed the food and tea after offering prayers to mark the 110th birthday of St. Teresa of Kolkata, founder of the Missionaries of Charity. (CNS photo/Rupak De Chowdhuri, Reuters)

KOLKATA, India — Missionaries of Charity nuns canceled the usual birth anniversary celebrations of their founder, St. Teresa, this year after some nuns tested positive for COVID-19.

JUNE 10, 1995

Ucanews.com reported the saintly nun’s 110th birth anniversary passed off without the customary celebrations Aug. 26 at the congregation’s headquarters.

After nine nuns tested positive for COVID-19 at Missionaries of Charity headquarters, the nuns canceled the usual nine-day novena prayer, concelebrated Mass and children’s singing and dancing as part of the anniversary.

The headquarters, or motherhouse, is where Mother Teresa is buried.

A private Mass was held at the tomb on Aug. 26 morning and concelebrated by Father Dominic Gomes, vicar general of Kolkata Archdiocese, said Sunil Lucas, who volunteers with the order.

As of Aug. 26, seven of the nine nuns had recovered, Lucas said.

The headquarters houses about 100 nuns, including novices, a member of the order told ucanews.com. She said they have been restricting visitors and avoiding gatherings since mid-March, when the virus began to spread in the country.

A senior nun told UCA News that none of the nuns can go out now, but their work for the poor in their several houses for orphans and the dying continues unhindered.

“They are all functioning with the help of sisters and volunteers who stay in those houses. We are not taking any new admissions now,” the nun said, requesting anonymity, because the sisters are not supposed to speak to the media.