About the Patron Saint of Our Parish
The youngest of the children born to Nikola and Drane Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa was baptized Gonxha Agnes, received her First Communion at the age of five and a half and was confirmed in November 1916. At the age of eighteen, Gonxha left her home in September 1928 to join the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as the Sisters of Loreto, In Ireland. There she received the name Sister Mary Teresa after St. Therese of Lisieux. In December, she departed for India, arriving in Calcutta on January 6, 1929. Sister Teresa taught at St. Mary’s School for girls. On May 24, 1937, Sister Teresa made her Final Profession of Vows, from that time on she was called Mother Teresa.
On September 10, 1946 during the train ride from Calcutta to Darjeeling, Mother Teresa received her “inspiration,” her “call within a call.” On that day, Jesus revealed His pain at the neglect of the poor, his sorrow at their ignorance of Him and His longing for their love. He asked Mother Teresa to establish a religious community, Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to the service of the poorest of the poor. On August 17, 1948, she dressed for the first time in a white, blue-bordered sari and passed through the gates of her beloved Loreto convent to enter the world of the poor.
Numerous awards, beginning with the Indian Padmashri Award in 1962 and notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, honored her work, while an increasingly interested media began to follow her activities.
On September 5, 1997 Mother Teresa’s earthly life came to an end. She was given the honor of a state funeral by the Government of India and her body was buried in the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity.
Less than two years after her death, in view of Mother Teresa’s widespread reputation of holiness and the favors being reported, Pope John Paul II permitted the opening of her Cause of Canonization. On December 20, 2002 he approved the decrees of her heroic virtues and miracles. Pope Francis Canonized Mother Teresa of Calcutta as a Saint in Rome on September 4, 2016.
A Brief History of the Parish of St. Teresa of Calcutta
Churches of Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Immaculate Conception Church: Immaculate Conception Parish was established by Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley in 1856 as a mission of St. Peter, Belleville and erected as a parish in 1864. The parish facilities were located at their present site in 1892 when the cornerstone of the church was laid. In 1881 Fr. Joseph Mendl invited the Sisters of Charity of Convent Station to open Immaculate Conception Elementary School (closed in 1997) and in 1925 Msgr. Edward Farrell started Immaculate Conception High School, which continues in the tradition of Catholic education, sending 95 percent of its graduates to colleges and universities annually. A parish pre-school, Tegakwitha Academy, was begun in 1997 and has since been closed. A Mausoleum built in the 1980’s complements Immaculate Conception Cemetery, which was dedicated at its present location in Upper Montclair in 1895.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish was established in 1907 to serve the needs of newly arrived immigrants from Italy. The first Mass was celebrated on Sunday, September 8, 1907. A wooden structure served for worship until 1937, when the imposing church that now dominates this section of Montclair was built. Both the current rectory and church were constructed during a suffocating depression period and yet the people and their pastor were determined to overcome all obstacles and see the fulfillment of their dream. In October, 1961, the parish purchased the former George Washington School on Baldwin Street for use as a parish school. The Religious Sisters Filippini arrived in the parish in 1939 and were housed in the former rectory until 1961 when a house on 102 Pine Street was purchased for use as a convent. In June 1971 the sisters withdrew from the parish and school which was soon closed. The former school was sold and developed as a condominium complex.
The merging of a new Parish: The New Energies Program of the Archdiocese of Newark was initiated to better utilize resources – human, structural and financial. At the recommendation of this program’s experts after wide ranging studies were conducted, the decision was made to merge the two churches, Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Mount Carmel and combine them as one new parish. The new parish was then named after St. Teresa of Calcutta to coincide with her Canonization on September 4, 2016.