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July 1998 Statement by Sister Nirmala
(regarding using Mother's name for fundraising for the M.C.)

In the ten months since Mother went home to God we have received expressions of encouragement and support from countless people from all over the world.  We are very grateful for all of the love and concern they have shown to us, and for their many prayers.  By the grace of God the Missionaries of Charity have continued to serve the poorest of the poor in the same way that Mother taught us. While we miss Mother more than we can say, we feel certain that Mother must be praying for us and for the poor she loved so much.

It has been brought to our attention that a number of organizations and individuals intend to commemorate the anniversary of Mother's death, September 5th, by soliciting donations for the Missionaries of Charity or for other charitable causes. These fundraising appeals may be through events, the sale of commemorative materials, or through direct solicitations.

Some believe that now after Mother's passing away, all have the right to use Mother's name since Mother belongs to the whole world. Mother herself  foresaw the possible controversies and clearly expressed her mind on the matter in the statement she made on 14th October 1984 in which Mother states,

"... it has happened quite often that the use of my name, even when it has involved the solicitation of funds for worthy charitable purposes, has conflicted with my religious beliefs and those of my Order. I have, therefore, strived to prevent the use of my name in those instances. I realize that there may be some who would seed to use my name after my death, and I feel very strongly that the exclusive right to control the use of my name should be vested in my successor from time to time in the office of the Superior of the Missionaries of Charity.  This right is to be exercised in the absolute discretion of my successor, to the end that consent to the use of my name will be withheld or granted in accordance with the religious beliefs which I have held in common with my Order and expressed during my lifetime."

I wish, therefore, to make a public appeal to all organizations and individuals contemplating such fundraising activities to respect Mother's wish and not undertake such endeavors. While we accept the good intentions of those who might do such things, we want to make clear that we do not authorize anyone to solicit funds or goods for us or for any cause, in the name of Mother or the Missionaries of Charity. Any gifts intended for our poor should be directed to the closest house of the Missionaries of Charity or to the Mother House in Calcutta.

It would be good to remember Mother's stand regarding soliciting donations in cas and kind.  Mother repeatedly made it known that we depend on Divine Providence to meet our needs and the needs of the poorest of the poor.  We continue to trust in Divine Providence in the way Mother did, and therefore we ourselves do not raise funds nor do we allow others to do so in the name of Mother or of the Missionaries of Charity.

My prayer and gratitude goes to each one of you for the tremendous love and respect you showed Mother during her lifetime. I know that you will honor her memory by continuing to love and respect her way, which is our way, of living a life of Gospel simplicity and trust in God.

As we draw closer to the anniversary of the day when Mother went home to God, we join with you in prayer in her loving memory, with a renewed commitment to take up where she left off and give wholehearted free service to those in need.

God bless you
Sister M. Nirmala m.c.
Superior General
Missionaries of Charity

54 A.J.C. Bose Road, Calcutta 700 016 22