CROWN - Croatian World Network -
Mother Teresa and Croatians
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic
Published on 03/7/2008
The Croatian Jesuits had a great role in spiritual development of Mother Teresa in her youth. Her spiritual father was Fr. Franjo Jambreković. The first monument in the world honouring this famous Albanian woman was carved in Croatia, in Supetar on the island of Brac (2002), by Petar Jakšić. It was unveiled by Martin Sheen.

Fr. Franjo Jambreković, Mother Teresa's spiritual father

Mother Teresa with armless baby

It is not the magnitude
of our actions
but the amount of love
that is put into them
that matters.

The biggest disease today
is not leprosy or tuberculosis,
but rather the feeling
of being unwanted.
Mother Teresa

The name of Mother Teresa (1910-1997, Albanian, born in Skopje in Macedonia), Nobel prize winner for peace 1979, is deeply related to Croatia. The Croatian Jesuits had a great role in her spiritual development. Indeed, Fr. Franjo Jambrekovic, a Croatian Jesuit and parish priest at Skopje, had a profound influence on Mother Teresa during her childhood. As her spiritual Father, he fostered her vocation. She continued to carry on correspondence with him when she lived in India. She also nurtured a deep friendship with Fr. Ante Gabric in India, and talked to him in Croatian.

The city of Zagreb, where much later Mother Teresa opened a house (1979), was one of the steps on her road to India. She visited the city of Zagreb and Croatia on many occasions, and always spoke Croatian. Moreover, once she even delivered a sermon in the Zagreb cathedral in Croatian. On that occasion she praised Medjugorje. It is also important to add that Mother Teresa obtained honorary Croatian citizenship.

Monument of Mother Teresa in Supetar on the island of Brac, 2002, by Petar Jakšić

The first monument in the world honouring Mother Teresa was carved in Supetar on the island of Brac (2002) by Petar Jakšić from Donji Humac, a small town on the island. The sculpture was funded by Marijan Dužić, Croatian American, and unveiled by Martin Sheen.

After many years she met her brother who lived in Italy, who forgot his native Albanian (and did not speak English). Surprisingly, they were able to communicate only in Croatian! Her letters written in Croatian to her colleagues in Zagreb are kept in the Zagreb Archbishopric. Also, her prayers (Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary, etc.) pronounced in Croatian were recorded during one of her stays in Croatia. They can be heard from time to time broadcast on Radio Marija.

Mother Teresa in Zagreb in 1977 with Fr. Ante Gabrić and Vladimir Paleček. Many thanks to Snježana Božić for the photo.

Mother Teresa receiving keys of the car from Vladimir Paleček; Fr. Ante Gabrić on the right. Photo from the monograph Vladimir Paleček: Djeca zemalja u razvoju, Međunarodni fond "Gladno dijete", 1980.

Mother Teresa in Zagreb in the court of Basilica of Sacred Heart of Jesus, Palmotićeva 31, around 1980. Many thanks to Br. Ivo Domazet (on the photo on the left).

Beautiful sculpture of Mother Teresa in Moscow, carved by Zurab Tsereteli

Mother Teresa receiving Presidential Award of Peace from Ronald Reagan in 1985.

Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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