Eradication of poverty, the best service to Saint Teresa

Jenny Salesa at Eighth Annual Saint Mother Teresa Interfaith Meeting

Venkat Raman

Mother Teresa was a messenger of love and peace and worked for cultural and social harmony and today’s troubled world needs more such people, Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa has said.

Serious concern

Citing her as the symbol of love and peace, she said that poverty is one of the most serious concerns in most countries of the world, including New Zealand.

Speaking at the Eighth Annual Saint Mother Teresa Interfaith Meeting held at Christ the King Church in Mt Roskill, Auckland, she said that Saint Mother Teresa spent her life in tireless work and charitable dedication.

“Her generous love, compassion and kindness crossed all boundaries. St Mother Teresa is someone I respect deeply. She is one of my heroes!” she said.

She outlined the importance of interfaith, peace and harmony.

Traditional Karakia

Auckland District Police Maori Responsiveness Manager Inspector Joe Tipene performed the traditional Karakia, invoking Maori blessings, which served as the invocation for the evening’s Programme.

Dignitaries honour

More than 200 men and women were present at the event organised by the Saint Mother Teresa Interfaith Committee. Among them were Labour MP and Ethnic Communities Ministry Undersecretary Michael Wood, National MPs Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and Dr Parmjeet Parmar, Bishop Patrick Dunn, Sisters of the Mother Superior Missionaries of Charities, and religious and community leaders.

The Meeting, eighth in an annual series, began with a remembrance note to Wenceslaus Anthony the Founder-Chairman of the Committee, who passed away in Chennai on July 23, 2017. The Committee placed on record his immense services to the Church.

It went beyond its original brief of marking the birth anniversary of Mother Teresa to become a source of inspiration, humility, reassurance of inter-racial unity, celebration of religious diversity and reiteration of the human spirit.

Relevant Teachings

Ms Salesa said that the teachings of Saint Mother Teresa were more relevant to today’s troubled world than any other time in history.

We need great people like Mother Teresa who stood for love and peace, for the uplift of the downtrodden and bringing comfort and solace to thousands of men, women and children. She dedicated her life to serve the poorest of the poor. Our world is poorer without Mother Teresa, she said.

Tireless work and Service

Ms Salesa said that New Zealand has become a multicultural country with people enjoying the freedom of pursuing their faith. We have a growing population of diverse people who want to live in peace and harmony, she said.

“Poverty is the worst form of human suffering and Saint Mother Teresa worked for the upliftment of the poor. New Zealand may be a fully-developed country, but we have many homeless people. I know the pain of poverty because I was born and raised in one such family. The greatest service that we could render is to follow her example of selfless service, and the path of love and peace,” she said.

Inspiring Mother

Bishop Dunn has often said that Mother Teresa inspired people with four major factors. “She left the comfort of her home when she was just 18 years old to serve God and humanity; her determination to be a Saint and meet challenges; her service to bring people from darkness to light; and the sense of joy that she brought to people.

“She is a reminder that the world can be changed through love and peace.”

Religious Representatives

Earlier, community and religious leaders lit a candle as a symbol of peace and harmony. Among them were Vinod Kumar (President, Hindu Council of New Zealand), Venerable Zhiming (Buddhist Temple representing Buddhism), Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (Sikhism), Ikhlaq Kashkari (New Zealand Muslim Association, representing Islam), David Robinson (representing the Jewish community), Gregory Thwaite (the Greek community) and Rashna Tata (representing the Zoroastrians society).

Lyndsay Freer rendered the song, ‘Prayer of St Francis’ accompanied on the Keyboard by Dennis Devadoss, a dance number, “Dance of Peace, Love and Joy, Mother of Divine’ by the Mercy Group.

Bishop Patrick Dunn presented a Bookmark (printed and donated by Mercury Printz who had also printed posters and flyers) to the Mother Superior Missionaries of Charities.


Photo Caption:

  1. Joe Tipene, Jenny Salesa, Bishop Patrick Dunn
  2. Jenny Salesa with Bishop Patrick Dunn, Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy, Venerable Zhiming and volunteers of Fo Guang Shan (Buddhist Temple)
  3. Group Picture of religious and community leaders

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