ROME — The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See launched an online exhibit Aug. 26 documenting the deep ties Blessed Teresa of Kolkata had with the United States.
“She had an impact on Americans – quite a profound impact,” said Ken Hackett, the U.S. ambassador, who knew and worked with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity while he served as president of Catholic Relief Services, the overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. bishops.
The online exhibit, compiled to mark Mother Teresa’s canonization Sept. 4, debuted on the embassy’s website – https://va.usembassy.gov – as well as on its Facebook page.
The site will include many items from her repeated trips to the United States, the first of which appears to have been a trip to address the 1960 conference of the National Council of Catholic Women “in – nowhere else but – Las Vegas,” Hackett said.
Mother Teresa frequently paid calls on the offices of CRS, first in New York and then in Baltimore. She also was a frequent visitor to the White House, meeting with Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bill Clinton.
Reagan awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985. In 1996, she was declared an honorary citizen of the United States, a declaration that requires an act of Congress or a presidential proclamation. To date, only eight people have received honorary citizenship, the embassy said.
Hackett said he wanted to do the online exhibit “because I knew where the treasure was buried” and was able to give guidance as the exhibit was coming together with contributions from CRS, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Council of Catholic Women and others.
She was “a very special person, who we as Americans dealt with a lot,” the ambassador said.