| Mother Teresa: A testament to undying love
From Schubert’s everlasting Ave Maria to Puccini’s Nessum Dorma, Pete Seeger’s We shall overcome to Any dream will do, drawn from the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical Joseph and the amazing technicolour dreamcoat... Angel of Love — a CD compilation of 12 songs based on the themes of Faith, Hope and Charity —is Hubert Robin Gomez’s novel homage to Mother Teresa, on the occasion of her beatification in Rome on October 19, after which she becomes ‘Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’.
The fifth-generation Portuguese descendant, born and brought up in Entally and “a true Bengali at heart”, has embraced the Mother’s message ever since he first greeted her with a ‘Jishu Pranam’ at the St Teresa of Avila Church, opposite the Gomez residence, when he was 12. “After her death, I wanted to create an awareness of her work and the phenomenon of her vocation — a testament of undying love,” says the 52-year-old adman.
The Roman Catholic, who has conceptualised, arranged and sung the songs culled from among the Mother’s favourite set, has incorporated her voice as well as that of His Holiness Pope John Paul II in this unique offering, to be made available from MusicWorld outlets before the beatification ceremony.
Apart from the 12 songs, the composition also strings together words she spoke at various gatherings around the world. Each chapter has an introduction, which blends with the three acts, and the Mother can be heard chanting “Love thy neighbour as thyself” at the beginning of the Hope set of four songs. The Pope talks about creation and Abbe Pater (our father) in a Gregorian chant to set the tone for the Charity set.
“The songs reflect the message she wanted all of us to receive and I have chosen certain specific songs to bring out the meaning of these beautiful acts of life — faith, hope and charity,” explains the self-taught artist and sculptor. Thus, the prayer of St Francis, Make me a channel of thy peace, which the Mother had adopted as her credo, set to music by a South India-based Augustinian monk, finds place in the Faith chapter.
Seeger’s We shall overcome, a favourite song of Calcutta, “which city lepers used to sing rattling their kettledrums”, shares the Hope chapter, with Memory (words: T.S. Elliot, music: Lloyd Weber). Chopin’s So deep is the night (English lyrics by Sonny Miller) finds pride of place in Charity alongside Tallis, adapted from John Donne’s poem, A hymn to God the father, where Gomez has himself penned the concluding verse, “For in my last breath, I shall whisper thy name…”
Assisted by friends from the Oxford Mission in the form of a violin symphony as back-up in the CD, Gomez has also produced an audio-visual presentation on Ave Maria, to be aired on local TV channels on the day of the beatification ceremony, which he will attend in Rome. His clay tableaux, The Ensemble of Angels of Love, with the Mother as the central character, is being cast in bronze to be installed at an island in the vicinity of Park Street.
Also part of his tribute on the occasion of the beatification is a calendar with six portraits of the Mother, picture postcards, mementoes, commemorative plaques and other artefacts. Royalties from sale proceeds will go to the Missionaries of Charity.