Mother Teresa’s Visit

34 years ago, in November 1984, a nun from India, Albanian by origin, the founder and superior of the Missionaries of Charity and laureate of the Nobel prize, Agnesë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, known more as Mother Teresa, visited Czechoslovakia for the first time. Her short stay followed an invitation from Cardinal Tomášek and the State Security couldn’t miss it.

Mother Teresa spent four days in Czechoslovakia (9–12 November 1984). She visited the St. Vitus cathedral at Prague Castle, joined the services in the Jesuit church of St. Ignatius in Prague, in the cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Brno and other places, and visited also the Charity house in Lechovice, near Znojmo. She had planned to visit Slovakia, too, but this part of her journey was cancelled because of her exhaustion. This fact was interpreted by the State Security as an intention to avoid meeting the pro-regime bishop of Bánská Bystrica, Jozef Feranc. The State Police made for themselves a clear statement concerning the stay of Mother Teresa: “The stay of the aforementioned person was misused by the inner and outer enemy for its intentions, especially for new activities of believers and popularisation of the charity care of the female monastic orders among believers, according to the current requirements of the church in this area. At the same time it was proven again that the visits of important religious personalities raise considerable interest of the believers and help to strengthen their emancipation and self-confidence of themselves as well as of the Roman Catholic Church.” (Collection code A 36, Inv. no. 921).

This material of the month comes from the file kept by the Surveillance Department, having the code name of “Hiu”, lodged now as no. SL-2224 MV. The surveillance plan reveals also the reason for taking pictures of Mother Teresa at the airport – the State Security was interested to see who was going to welcome her. There is also a description of the situation at the airport immediately after Mother Teresa’s arrival. She appeared accompanied by sister Marie Monika Gomes, a nun from the same congregation, who was given the code name “Eva” in the file. The picture contains markers on the front side and explanatory notes on the reverse side.