Mother Teresa of Calcutta Statue
Dedicated in 2009, the six-foot statue of Mother Teresa of Calcutta adorns Marquette University's campus. In recognition of her numerous good deeds worldwide, Mother Teresa was awarded the Pere Marquette Discovery Award in 1981. She herself visited the university that same year in order to accept the award in person. During the ceremony, she spoke in front of some 10,000 peoples and thousands more watched on local access television.
Backstory and Context
On October 6, 2009, Marquette University dedicated a 6 ½-foot bronze statue of Saint Teresa of Calcutta on a site just a short distance from the Joan of Arc Chapel. The statue was crafted by Calcutta-born sculptor Guatam Pal, an international artist whose statues of Mahatma Gandhi adorn the parks of many cities around the world (Including one at MacArthur Park, just east of the Milwaukee Courthouse). The statue was donated to the university by Vincent Kuttemperoor (CEO and President of VK Development, a real estate development firm based in Brookfield, Wisconsin) and his wife Geeta. Next to the statue is a plaque which features the following quote by St. Teresa: “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” The plaque also lists the many accomplishments and accolades of St. Teresa, including the Pere Marquette Discovery Award, which was awarded to her when she visited the university in 1981.
Mother Teresa’s visit was part of the university’s centennial celebration. Although it took three years to convince Mother Teresa to accept the award, she finally agreed. The ceremony took place on June 13, 1981, in front of a crowd of 10,000 people at the Milwaukee Auditorium. An additional 3,000 watched on closed-circuit television. During the ceremony Father John Raynor, president of Marquette, gave testament to the achievements of Mother Teresa. “Through her life and example, people of every country in the world have discovered that the light of God shines again in our time. She has discovered God in the poorest of the poor. Like Père Marquette, she does indeed map the unknown regions of man’s need to give and receive Christ’s own charity.” In keeping with her humble nature Mother Teresa accepted the award not on behalf of herself, but rather “the poor, the unworthy, the forgotten.” Beginning in 1997 the Roman Catholic Church began the process of canonization, and named Mother Teresa a saint on September 4th, 2016.
Fellow recipients of the Pere Marquette Discovery Award include the crew of the Apollo 11 (Awarded in 1969), Reverend Karl Rahner (1979), The Most Reverend Desmond Mpilo Tutu (2003), and the members of the Little Rock Nine (2010).
Marquette University Special Collections and University Archives
Marquette Wire. "Mother Teresa statue is 'visual reminder'." https://marquettewire.org/3754777/tribune/tribune-news/dedication-mg1-jm2-mn3-mother-teresa-statue-i...