Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Yugoslav-born leader of the Missionaries of Charity, has established new communities to work with the destitute in St. Louis and Detroit.
The two new convents join a third one, in New York City's Spanish Harlem, which was Mother Teresa's first venture in the United States when it was established in the early 1970s.
Mother Teresa and the three sisters who will work near St. Teresa of Avila parish, a heavily black and poor section of North St. Louis, received a personal welcome from Cardinal John J. Carberry when they arrived in the city recently.
A similar greeting from Cardinal John F. Dearden awaited three other sisters whom Mother Teresa brought to Detroit to work in the city's St. Agnes Parish, where the Rev. Edward Farrell, the pastor, celebrated a private dedication mass.
Mother Teresa, 69, said she has opened convents in the U.S. because "I was invited to come. We are here to satify the hunger of people for God."
Mother Teresa receives more requests for her missionaries than she can provide. During the past year, she received more than 90 requests from bishops and pastors around the world asking for the aid of her sisters.
She opened the St. Louis convent after an initial request by Cardinal Carberry in 1976 and a visit to the neighborhood in 1978, which showed her that her sisters were needed.
Mother Teresa established the Detroit convent at the invitation of Dearden. Farrell, who initially contacted her, said that "what was once an area of violence in this city will become an area of reconciliation" now that the sisters are there.
The Missionaries of Charity, organized in 1950, now numbers 1,800 sisters and 300 brothers in 70 countries. There are 25 American sisters. CAPTION: Pictures 1 through 3, Mother Teresa is in St. Louis for the opening of a convent that will work in a heavily black and poor section of North St. Louis. By Douglas Chevalier - The Washington Post