CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 19 August 2017

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A trademark sari

NEW DELHI (AsiaNews): The while cotton sari edged with the blue stripe which has become the trademark of the Missionaries of Charity is now a legally registered trademark with the intellectual properties held by the congregation.
 
A common sight around Kolkata since the congregation was founded by Mother Teresa in 1950, it is now known around the world as the sisters have spread their presence to all corners of the globe.
 
The Trade Marks Registry of India granted the registration.
 
The sari was recognised as intellectual property on 4 September 2016, the day the Mother of the Poor was canonised in the Vatican. The application was filed on 12 December 2013 and granted after nearly three years.
 
The lawyer for the Missionaries of Charity said that since the congregation does not believe in publicity it was not been publicised, but with the unscrupulous and unfair usage of the design across the globe, an effort is now being made to spread awareness among people about the trademark.
 
The congregation’s website describes the history of the sari and Sister Gertrude, the superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, says that Mother Teresa wore the white and blue sari for the first time in 1948 and in that dress she ventured into the streets of Kolkata.
 
“Since 1950, the dress has become the sisters’ identifying feature and has come to be recognised as a symbol of peace and charity the world over.
 
“Mother selected the blue border, for we associate the colour blue with Mother Mary. It stands for purity. Also in those days women who swept the streets used to wear a similar kind of a sari. So, Mother adopted a religious dress that was both symbolic and practical—it not only helped to identify ourselves with the poor, but was also suitable to Calcutta’s searing summer heat.”
 
In 1958, when the Missionaries of Charity opened a home for people suffering from Hansen’s Disease at the Gandhiji Prem Niwas in Titagarh, the congregation discovered that many of them were out of work, so it set up the looms and asked them to weave the saris for the sisters.
 
Today the Gandhiji Prem Niwas weaves about 4,000 saris a year, which are distributed among the sisters all over the world.
 
The congregational website adds, “The religious dress of the Missionaries of Charity bears special significance. The colour of the sari—white—stands for truth and purity while the three blue borders each signify the vows that the sisters take: the first band represents poverty, the second obedience and the third broad band represents the vows of chastity and wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.”
 
It adds that the cross worn on the left shoulder symbolises that for the Missionaries of Charity Jesus on the cross is the key to the heart.
 
“Novices wear white saris without the three blue stripes. When they are ready to take the vows after four years of formation, they receive the blue-striped sari.”
 
Each sister is issued with three saris.

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