Mother Teresa the Nobel Peace Prize-winning missionary whom many call a living saint, visited Toronto on June 24 (The Christian calendar feast day of St. John the Baptist) to open a convent in St. Sebastian’s Parish.  Her Sisters of Charity will serve the mentally and developmentally disabled and psychiatric patients discharged from chronic-care institutions in the Parkdale area.

There was a brief liturgical service in the tiny but elegant St. Sebastian’s in which Cardinal Carter introduced a small frail woman in a dark blue sweater carrying a Rosary, a woman that 200 people had crowded into the church to see and hear.  Referring to the Psalm that had just been read the Cardinal said, “I wish to welcome the humble woman who has indeed built the house the Lord asked for.  When sanctity comes before us we are so hungry for it we cling to it.”

Mother Teresa began her 20-minute address with a prayer to the Mother of God and then said, “Abortion is the greatest evil, the greatest destroyer of peace today.  It destroys life.

“Today let us pray for all those who have hurt Jesus so badly.  Let us forgive them.”

After the service she and her sisters went next door to the new convent for an official housewarming.  This included Mother Teresa standing on the front porch of a house on an ordinary Toronto street on a brilliant hot summer’s day for 30 minutes handing out religious medals to all who held out their hand for one.

Later that evening she participated in a prayer service for the friends and relatives of those who were killed in the mysterious crash of the 747 Indian airliner off the coast of Ireland.