Thursday, September 21, 2006

another visit report

CALCUTTA, India -- Martina Hingis prayed at Mother Teresa's tomb Tuesday, a visit she called an "inspirational experience."

The Swiss tennis star is in India for the first time and was accompanied by five other players -- Melinda Czink of Hungary, Arvane Rezai of France, Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand, Sandy Gumulya of Indonesia and Liezel Huber of South Africa.

They were received by senior nuns of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. They offered flower bouquets at the tomb and visited nearby "Nirmala Sishu Bhavan," a center for destitute children.

"The visit to Mother House was very important and an inspirational experience. People can hardly emulate the things she has done," Hingis said. "Mother Teresa had a vision and goal that people should try to achieve. ... If my game and my smile help people in some way, I shall remain thankful."

Hingis, playing in a tournament in Calcutta, gave $20,000 to the former Nobel Peace Prize winner's charity organization.

Mother Teresa, who was born in what is now Macedonia, devoted her life to serving the poor in India and elsewhere. In 1929, she came to Calcutta, where she later founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and died in 1997 at age 87.

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