CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Saint Teresa made an impact on people across the world including here in western Massachusetts.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta was a nun who dedicated her life to the poor. She was born Agnes Gonxha in 1910 to Albanian Parents, in modern day Macedonia.
As a young woman she felt called to minister to the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta, India. In 1950, she started the missionaries of charity with only 12 members. Today there are more than 4,500 sisters.
Mother Teresa traveled throughout the world leaving an impact on people including right here in western Massachusetts. One of the most memorable moments is when she made an unplanned visit to McKinstry Market.
On June 22nd, 1985, the then Mother Teresa visited St. Rose de Lima Church on Grattan Street in Chicopee on a mission tour as you see in this picture here. She was then scheduled to speak at the University of Massachusetts as seen here, but that’s when she paid a local farmer a visit.
Bill McKinstry told 22News, “I didn’t know anything about it her being here, until her limo driver came in and bought some strawberries. And the cashier said no. He said Mother Teresa, she’s in the mood for strawberries so I brought her to the best place I knew where to get strawberries.”
Bill McKinstry said his market emptied to the parking lot where he and his employees met Mother Teresa. He said it was an experience he will not soon forget also receiving a token from her. “She gave all the employees a little medallion, and we have ours hanging on the wall here,” said McKinstry.
McKinstry said some people have come into his market just to see the Blessed Mary Medallion. But he said while he was happy to see Mother Teresa become a Saint, he wishes it happened earlier.
“Never realized something like that could happen and you know it was years later that you know it really impacted how great of a woman she was of a woman worldwide,” said McKinstry.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta died in 1997 at 87-years-old, but her work and words will be remembered forever.