KENOSHA — St. James Parish will host “An Evening with Mother Teresa,” in celebration of her feast day, with Mass, viewing of a rare, protected film and a presentation with people who knew her, Saturday, Sept. 5, at the church, 5804 Sheridan Road. Jim DeHarpporte, regional director for Catholic Relief Services in the Western U.S., his wife, Tica, and the CRS Calcutta staff surround Mother Teresa the day she received the telegram in her hand, informing her she would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (Submitted photo courtesy Jim DeHarpporte)

The event will begin with Mass at 5:30 p.m., followed by the film at 7 p.m. in Fr. Heuser Hall, a presentation and refreshments.

The film shows Mother Teresa Jan. 14, 1992, as she speaks to the staff of Scripps Hospital in San Diego, where she spent two weeks in intensive care after collapsing from pneumonia and exhaustion while helping the poor in Tijuana, Mexico. She called together the hospital staff to thank them for their care and kindness and spoke directly to them on issues like poverty, the dignity of every human being, care for the dying and the importance of family.

to register

“An Evening with Mother Teresa,” takes place Saturday, Sept. 5,at St. James Church, 5804 Sheridan Road, Kenosha. Mass will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m., followed by the film at 7 p.m. in Fr. Heuser Hall, a presentation and refreshments. Event is free, but registration requested:
(262) 553-1225

Carl Holborn, vice president and shareholder of O’Neill, Cannon, Hollman, DeJong & Laing S.C. law firm in Milwaukee, a member of St. James and organizer of the celebration, said he asked Scripps Hospital for permission to show the film after viewing it at the Schoenstatt Retreat Center in Waukesha earlier this year.

“It starts out as kind of a short thank you, but it’s a beautiful soliloquy by her, of her life, her work, her values and she talks for about 40 minutes, just her talking,” he said in a telephone interview with the Catholic Herald. “It’s really, really great.” 

She talks about serious things, like her successful meeting with then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro, when she asked that he allow the sisters to do their work in Cuba.

The film also shows Mother Teresa being human, Holborn said.

“There’s one wonderful scene in the film where Mother Teresa laughs.…,” he said. “It’s engaging and it just really will put a smile, I think, on anyone’s face to see her, and really gives you a sense of just that she’s a human being, she’s just a wonderful human being on top of being a very holy person.”

Holborn and his wife organized a celebration on Mother Teresa’s feast day last year after taking an “inspiring” trip to India in 2013, visiting Calcutta and Mother Teresa’s tomb, spending time with the Missionaries of Charity and seeing some of their work. He has had a devotion to Mother Teresa and been interested in her since about fifth grade when the nuns who taught him at Holy Rosary School, Kenosha, gave the students a “free day” when Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It struck him that the nuns, whom he described as good teachers and disciplinarians, were proud and happy and “had kind of this joy and exuberance” at the news. 

They decided to make it an annual celebration and are bringing back Ted Larkin, Midwest regional development director for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), to share his experiences from working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta in the late 70s and then later experiences in Palestine, as well as a new speaker, Jim DeHarpporte, regional director for Catholic Relief Services in the Western U.S., who also spent time with her.

Larkin and DeHarpporte will share some of the moments they witnessed, like the time Larkin said she melted the heart of an Israeli general in the Gaza Strip in a matter of minutes, after Larkin and others’ attempts had failed.

CRS was really the first major supporter for Mother Teresa in Calcutta, then throughout India and worldwide, according to Larkin, who said American Catholics are, through CRS, major support for the Missionaries of Charity.

The event is free, but registration is requested.