From the Elm City to Vatican City, Mother Teresa portrait celebrates sainthood

NEW HAVEN -  On Sunday, Catholics worldwide will celebrate the canonization of Mother Teresa but, in New Haven, for Knights of Columbus, the celebration began early.

Mother Teresa had close ties to the Knights of Columbus. She visited their offices in the 1980s and kept correspondence over the years. To honor Mother Teresa's  sainthood, the Knight's commissioned a painting by Yale graduate and acclaimed artist, Chas Fagan, and that painting was chosen to be showcased at the official service Pope Francis will hold in St. Peter's Square on Sunday.

"We didn't know it would be chosen by the Vatican," said Logan Ludwig, the deputy supreme knight at the Knights of Columbus.  "We're very honored to have privilege."

The original painting now hangs in the atrium of the Knights of Columbus Museum on State Street in New Haven but a giant reproduction of it will drape the façade of St. Peter's Basilica for the canonization service.

"It is great because New Haven and Connecticut have a real connection to Mother Teresa," said Andrew Walther, the vice president of communication for the Knights.

The Knights of Columbus were busy printing one million prayer cards which feature the painting on one side.

"The men and women at our printing plant were hustling to get all of these jobs done, a million holy cards sent to St. Peter's Square. It has been very exciting and rewarding," said Peter Sonski, the outreach manager from the Knights of Columbus Museum.

The originally portrait of Mother Teresa by Chas Fagen will be on display at the Knights of Columbus Museum until sometime later in September. No exact date has been given when the work will be moved to its permanent home in Rome. The painting will also be loaned to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York September 8-10.

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