The day future saint Mother Teresa came to visit schools in Ipswich

Mother Teresa arrives at Ipswich Station in October 1970.

Mother Teresa arrives at Ipswich Station in October 1970. - Credit: Archant

As the eyes of the world were turned to The Vatican for Sunday’s canonisation of Mother Teresa, some in Ipswich remembered the day that the future saint visited the town.

Mother Teresa came to Ipswich on October 30, 1970 to visit St Mark’s Roman Catholic Primary School in Stone Lodge Lane and St Margaret’s Church of England School in Bolton Lane.

For someone who was known to show great humility, her trip to Ipswich resembled a Royal visit, and every step appears to have been captured for posterity.

She was met at the station by children and leading Catholics from the town, including Father Norman Smith, who was then parish priest at St Pancras Church in Orwell Place.

St Mark’s was a centre for collections for her order in 1970 – and children from the school had raised £800 in a sponsored walk for her charity. That was a considerable sum in 1970.


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As well as children from St Marks, youngsters from other Catholic schools travelled to St Mark’s to meet her and present her with gifts they had collected.

Her mission has always had ecumenical support – so it is not surprising that her second visit was to St Margaret’s school.

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The report in the Catholic diocesan newsletter said: “A number of children present her with gifts they had made and collected. Her humility, sincerity and gentle sense of humour made a great impression on all who met her.”

Yesterday Mother Teresa was formally canonised by Pope Francis in a special mass at The Vatican.

Mother Teresa died in 1997 at the age of 87 after spending most of her life working in Calcutta – now Kolkota – in India.

She was born in Macedonia and entered a convent in Ireland before travelling to India

In 1950 she founded the Missionaries of Charity, which went on to become a global order of nuns – identified by their trademark blue-trimmed saris, as well as priests, brothers and lay co-workers.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

A estimated 120,000 people filed into St Peter’s Basilica for the canonisation – but that was fewer than had attended her beatification by Pope John Paul II in 2003.

During the Mass, The Pope said: “Let us carry her smile in our hearts and give it to those whom we meet along our journey, especially those who suffer.”

Pope Francis followed in the footsteps of Mother Teresa by offering some 1,500 homeless people a pizza lunch at the Vatican after the Mass.

The homeless came to Rome overnight on buses from across Italy to take part in the Mass. They got seats of honour for the celebration.

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