The terrible weather at the Dedication ceremony prevented all of the speeches from being presented. Here is the text of the remarks from Kleida Spirollari about Mother Teresa.
Mother Teresa of Albania -
Honorable President of Albania Mr. Bujar Nishani, Ambassador Galanxhi, Major Zeqaj, Major Jackson, Members of Cleveland City Council, and dear friends!
The person beyond the image
Today, in the Albanian Cultural Garden, we celebrate Mother Teresa. It is such a great privilege for me to talk to you about Mother Teresa. The famed humanitarian, the advocate for the poor, the Albanian girl who grew up to become the greatest woman the world has ever known. This is a special day for the Albanian Community of Cleveland, because we are going to have here, permanently among us, this universal figure, who through her heavenly spirit won the hearts of people across the globe.
Our Mother Teresa is here; she will descend in the hearts of all those who will come to visit her in this garden and she will relay upon us the humanly love that characterized her whole life's work.
This statue, was the desire of the Albanian Community here in Cleveland, but the efforts to make that made this desire a reality were enthusiastically supported by many people and organizations beyond our community, all those who consider themselves friends of Albanians.
The work that we did together for over 2 years is a great example of the message of unity, peace and love for each other that this statue of Mother Teresa personifies. It also shows that great things can be accomplished if you put your heart to it and lend each other a hand.
In our hearts, there is a special place for Mother Teresa, for inside this famed woman dressed in sari lived the little Albanian girl with a heart of gold and big dreams to serve those most in need.
Nineteen-ten was a turbulent year in Albania. It was a momentous year for the Bojaxhiu family too. On August 26th this Catholic Albanian family, one of the more prominent in the struggle for an autonomous Albania, was celebrating the birth of a healthy baby daughter. Agnes, the third child of Nikola and Dranafile Bojaxhiu, was born in Skopje, a city situated at the crossroads of the Balkans. She was baptized with the name Gonxhe which means "flower bud". By coincidence or design, her mother Drane's name means "rose". And thus, a bud was born to a rose learning early on from her mother to care for those in need.
The clarity of her vision, her origins and her life's path and mission is beautifully captured in her own words when she said: "By blood I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the heart of Jesus"
Mother Teresa was noted for her charity, unselfishness and courage, her capacity for hard work and a natural talent for organization. For over 40 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying. She was the caring mother of 7,500 children in 60 schools, the nurse of 960,000 sick people in 213 charity hospitals, the only one in the world who would treat 47,000 victims of.
Mother Teresa's charities expanded throughout India and 123 countries around the world. The small stature Albanian had thus turned into a living legend. For such work, she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, the title Jewel of India in 1980, The Order of Merit (from Queen Elisabeth) in 1983 and The United States Congressional Gold Medal in 1997. Following her death, she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
Her life was simple but her deeds were monumental. She was a lady who became famous not because of any great inventions or rare talents, but for rediscovering love, compassion and spiritual beauty in one of the darkest and bloodiest centuries known to mankind. She lived through the Balkan wars, the 1st and 2nd World Wars, and the cold war that followed.
She prayed for her country for over 50 years while Albania remained isolated without being able to visit. When she was finally able to come to Albania for the first time in 1989, she called that event 'the most beautiful day of her life, the day she had longed, dreamed and prayed for 50 years'.
In the most difficult times Mother Teresa defended life bravely; she served all human beings, always promoting their dignity and respect; she made the 'losers' of life feel the tenderness of human love. To the world she is was the ultimate mother, to Albania she was the humble daughter, the timid bud of a rose that was lovingly nurtured and grew to become the ray of hope, the messenger of peace and unconditional love in a troubled world.
The world has turned to mother Teresa for inspiration and it has not been disappointed. We hope this garden and this statue will be for us a place to renew our hopes and inspirations; reenergize and live our lives with a purpose and to the fullest.
Let us not forget her example! Let us always have the courage to give priority to the human being! Let's forever honor this great Albanian lady!
Albanian Cultural Garden Dedication Main Page - Page 1
Albanian President Bujar Nishani - Page 2
Albanian Cultural Garden - More dignitaries - Page 3
Albanian Garden Dedication and Mother Teresa statue Unveiling - Page 4
Entertainment at Albanian Cultural Garden Dedication - Page 5 (this page)
Faces in the Garden - Page 6
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