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For years, St. Bernadette Institute of Sacred Art pursued an awards program which would rightfully acknowledge spiritual accomplishments in this secular world. A first attempt searched out universities willing to bestow honorary doctorates upon worthy individuals. Universities showed little interest. After a great deal of prayer, the Institute began to ponder the idea of using a well recognized name for an awards program. They contacted Mother Nirmala, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity of India, asking permission to use Mother Teresa’s name for the awards. Fully aware that in most cases the nuns do not permit Mother’s name to be used, the Institute took a leap of faith. And Mother Nirmala responded: “For the glory of God and for the good of His people, we are happy to give you permission to name the program, ‘The Mother Teresa Awards.’”
Immediately, Dan Paulos, the director of the Institute made arrangements to have one of the Missionaries of Charity in Gallup, New Mexico model for the statuette. The missionaries wear a very distinctive religious habit and Paulos, an artist himself, designed the award featuring accuracy without making the figure resemble a devotional statue. The Board of Directors of St. Bernadette Institute of Sacred Art contacted the R.S. Owens Company of Chicago who produces the Oscars for the Academy Awards, and commissioned them to create the Mother Teresa statuette. R.S. Owens immediately agreed to accept the challenge. The statuette is a modern interpretation of Mother Teresa holding a rosary in one hand, with her other respectfully placed over her heart. Mother’s head is raised high toward Heaven, symbolizing that everything we do should be for the glory of God.
The late Mother Teresa often said, “The world is hungry not only for food, but also for beauty.” The Mother Teresa Awards was founded to recognize the achievements of those who beautify the world, especially in the fields of religion, social justice and the arts. Individuals admitted into the federation of laureates are nominated by the public at large and selected by the Board of Directors of the Mother Teresa Awards and St. Bernadette Institute of Sacred Art. Assuredly, recipients consider the awards one of the highest honors they could achieve.
Out of respect for the patroness of the awards program, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, it was unanimously decided that no formal presentations or gala events would be hosted to celebrate the annual awards. When Mother Teresa was presented the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, she asked that the funds which would have been used for her reception be given to the poor. Therefore, in this same spirit, the awards will either be mailed to each recipient along with a formal citation, or quietly presented by a member of the Missionaries of Charity of Calcutta.
To nominate an individual for the Mother Teresa Awards, please contact us for a nomination form:
MOTHER TERESA AWARDS
St. Bernadette Institute of Sacred Art
Post Office Box 8249
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87198