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Mother Teresa relics visit Baltimore chapel

Fourteen years after Mother Teresa's last visit to Baltimore, her blood, her hair and several of her personal effects returned to the city Wednesday.

The items, which also include a rosary and sandals worn by the candidate for Catholic sainthood, were displayed for several hours at the hospice for AIDS patients she opened in East Baltimore in 1992.

In the chapel at the Gift of Hope hospice on Ashland Avenue, operated by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, Shirley Sapp paused before the frayed shoes.

"Mother Teresa is such a holy woman. Just to see her sandals — she wore those when she served so many people," said Sapp, 58, her eyes filling with tears as she stood before the items arranged on the diaphanous fabric.

The relics are passing through Baltimore as part of a North American tour organized by the Missionaries of Charity in honor of the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresa's birth.

Famed for her work with the poor of Calcutta, India, the Albanian nun died in 1997. She was beatified, a step toward sainthood, by Pope John Paul II in 2003.

Another city resident to get one of the first glimpses of the relics was Mary Alice Moore, a teacher at Baltimore City Community College.

She said she missed seeing Mother Teresa when she visited in 1996, but the "relics are the next best thing."

Moore said she has read several books written about Mother Teresa. She said that just seeing the shoes she walked in and the rosary beads she held so tightly is an important reminder of the inspiring woman.

Mass will be celebrated at 8 a.m. Thursday at St. Wenceslaus, followed by a holy hour and veneration of relics until noon.

The relics are then to be transported to Our Lady of Pompei in Highlandtown, where a Mass will be celebrated in Spanish at 5:30 p.m., followed by a holy hour, rosary and veneration until 8:30 p.m.

Mass will be celebrated at 8 a.m. Friday at St. Leo in Little Italy, followed by a holy hour, rosary and veneration until 11 a.m.

Bishop Denis Madden will celebrate a Mass at 12:10 p.m. at the Baltimore Basilica, which Mother Teresa visited in May 1996.

That was her second visit to the city.

"Any man, woman or child feeling unloved with nowhere to go is welcome to come here," she said at the time. "I have no gold or silver to give you, but I'm giving you my sisters."

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